The One With Two Sides


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Man-slaying Hector. Hector of the shining helmet. Horse-taming Hector.

Hector is the mightiest warrior in the Trojan army, as stated in his epithets. He wreaks havoc on the Aechean army. Our brain immediately goes stereotyping—we get an image of a strong man, who has an ever so lightly tanned skin, covered with battle scars, with bulky arms and a buff body, wearing heavy armor. The way he stands up and carries his body is truly remarkable—straight, held up high, confidence oozing off him. Perhaps this is because he is a work of art, a living statue, carved by ten long years of battle. When he enters a room, all heads turn toward him. Now, only a great man can do such. He catches the attention of everyone without him having to exert even the tiniest amount of effort. It’s just who he is.


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Hector looked at his son in silence, with a smile.

Hector? Yes, hector. Hector with the buff arms. You would never expect a man-slayer to be described in such a soft manner, let alone even imagine him smile. In the latter part of book six of the Iliad, hector is described as a tender, family-oriented man. This becomes evident as he talks to his beloved wife, Andromache, as she nurses their son, Astyanax. He shows connection and deep, sincere love to his wife and child. I say with a heavy heart that this scene, I think, is the saddest scene in the whole book. His wife pleads him to not go into battle, even though she already anticipated his not-so-good ending. I would’ve loved for him to not go into battle, and instead stay back home and be a dad. Unfortunately, even though he loves his family very much, he never loses sight of his responsibility to Troy, and goes into battle anyway.

The two descriptions are very different; it’s hard to believe that they’re descriptions of the same person. There’s only one key difference, though. The place they’re in. One description is for Hector in the battlefield, the other one is for him inside his house.

This is the portrait of the warrior at home.

People have different personalities, always. There’s never one fixed personality for us, never. We’re never always happy, or never always sad. Never always triumphant, never always a failure. That is true for all of us. We’re social beings, and our behavior depends on the people who surround us. That’s applicable even in the case of Hector. When in the battlefield, surrounded by fellow warriors, his warrior instincts kick in. He’d be the man-slaying Hector that we all know. However, when he’s around his family, he becomes a totally different person. He becomes the type of person you’d least expect him to be. A family man. He’s unstoppable at the battlefield, but he speaks to his wife with such control, being very careful not to hurt her feelings. Even me, I have different personalities. I’m usually rowdy and noisy around friends, but I’m a different person when I’m with my family. I’m the sweet, good girl. That is true, though it sounds funny. I can’t even imagine myself being sweet. Ha. It’s funny how my personality can change in the snap of a finger. Sometimes it’s influenced by my mood, the current events, or by the people around me. Whatever the case, I can definitely say that I don’t have just one personality.

Well, I think it’s better that we should expect very diverse personalities from people, so that when the time comes that we interact with them when they’re not their usual self, we won’t be shocked as much as we would if we would not have expected it. I do this, and well, it kind of works for me. Like when a person who’s usually very apathetic shows the least bit of interest in something I say. I’m usually quite taken aback at first, but in the end I’ve come to accept it. Numerous things can trigger the manifestations of these personalities. In Hector’s case, having a family triggered his being soft-spoken and tender, and his being family-oriented. For me, it’s quite comforting to learn about and get acquainted with this side of Hector. It shows that he still has feelings, that he’s still human, that not every five seconds a battle scene materializes in his head.

When you’re a warrior, the greatest one in fact, maybe you’re not always a warrior. Maybe sometimes you’re just a dad.