Son of Priam and Hekabe, and husband to Andromache, Hektor is the most beloved and greatest fighter for the Trojans. Because the war is being fought at Troy, and Homer presents a picture of life within the city walls, we have a sense of Hektor as a domestic man as well as a fighter, which is unique in the Iliad.

Though at times his fame as a fighter seems to outstrip his actual combat ability, he often single-handedly inspires the Trojan successes. By the time he crashes through the Achaian defensive wall, you could say he stands for the Trojan army.

He can be impetuous and almost deluded in his fighting frenzy; he misreads omens and doesn’t follow the advice of his comrades even when it’s eminently worthwhile. Like Achilleus, he pursues his destiny with a single-minded force.

We sense that Hektor is not fighting a war he particularly believes in. He is quick to criticize Paris but is staking his life on defending Paris’ actions. Hektor is the upholder of the heroic code par excellence. He understands that his city must stand or fall as one man. He defends its interests to the end for honor.

In his family relations Hektor exhibits sensitivity and sanity, a sharp contrast to his furious warring. He is courteous to Helen and devoted to Andromache.

Though he tells his wife he must fight for the honor of the city, he also admits to her that her safety is his greatest worry — he would rather die than endure the sight of her made captive. He is tender and playful with his son, Astyanax, kissing him and actually laughing out loud — a rare occurrence in the Iliad! While Achilleus seems somehow to stand above the Achaian cause and infuses the poem with his own tragic dimension, Hektor’s tragedy is the tragedy of Troy. Though the gods admit he has always dutifully made his sacrifices to them, he gets embroiled in a web of fate that goes beyond his personal life. He is the “defender,” and when he falls Troy falls. The burial of Hektor is the final act of the poem.