With a perfectly timed thrust he puts his spear through Hector's throat. Near death, Hector pleads with Achilles to return his body to the Trojans for burial, but Achilles resolves to let the dogs and scavenger birds maul the Trojan hero.
Hector of the gleaming helm spoke first: 'I will not run from you, as before, son of Peleus. My heart failed me as I waited for your attack, and three times round Priam's city we ran, but now my heart tells me to stand and face you, to kill or be killed.
What request does Hector make after he is defeated by Achilles? He requests his body be returned to his family for a proper burial.
As he lies dying, Hector appeals to Achilles to return his body for cremation – a request that is heartlessly refused – and with his last breath he prophesies Achilles' own death at the hands of the Trojan prince Paris.
Achilles kills Hector
Achilles: "I smashed your strength! And you—the dogs and birds will maul you, shame your corpse while Achaeans bury my dear friend in glory!" (395-7)
Upon his death Hector, the dying prince of Troy told Achilles, the warrior of Greece, his last words. “Spare my body!
Kneeling over his corpse, Achilles sheds tears, which could potentially symbolize the Greek hero's realization of the futility of war, and the possibility of respectful comradeship between the two in the absence of the feud over Helen.
Achilles tells him to stop begging, that if he could, he would eat the corpse himself, but since he can't, he'll let the dogs do it, instead. Hector curses him, telling him Paris will kill him at the Scaean Gates with the help of Apollo.
He had fought the Greek champion Protesilaus in single combat at the start of the war and killed him. A prophecy had stated that the first Greek to land on Trojan soil would die. Thus, Protesilaus, Ajax, and Odysseus would not land.
Hector promises Achilles that if he kills him he will only strip the armour from his body. Achilles does not promise the same as he has not forgiven him for killing Patroclus.
If Hector is a tragic hero, than his tragic flaw would be his stubbornness to accept the force of fate and his own delusional belief in a Trojan victory. But beneath these flaws are the works of understandable human feelings; Hector does all this because of his desire to protect Troy, his people and his family.
The most famous example is Achilles' treatment of the body of the Trojan prince Hector, but Hector himself is no better: he felt the same urge to demean the lifeless body of Patroclus and planned to cut off Patroclus' head and give his body as food to the Trojans' dogs (Iliad 17.127).
Even though his father, Priam, begs his son Hector to stay safe inside the walls of Troy, Hector goes out anyway. He had too much pride to act like a coward and stay inside the walls, so he fought and was killed by Achilles.
Thus, ending the Iliad with Hector's funeral was Homer's way of telling the audience that Troy would fall. Another reason is that the entire poem seems to hinge on the anger of Achilles towards Agamemnon and Hector. Achilles, the greatest Greek warrior, seemed to be fueled by the need to avenge his friend's death.
As one of the princes of Troy, Hector is also an important symbol of stability and honor for his people. His death marks the end of the Trojan's upper hand in the war. With Achilles' return to battle and Hector's death, the Trojans no longer stand a chance.
When Achilles, the greatest of the Greek heroes, refused to fight because of a quarrel with the Greek commander Agamemnon, Hector nearly managed to drive the Greeks from Troy once and for all. But he made the mistake of killing Achilles' best friend Patroclus in battle.
This is exemplified when Hector, the best of the Trojans, flees from god-like Achilles, simply because he is afraid. It is important for people to read and consider this in order to understand how war is glorified today and how detrimental and corrosive that is to society.
Each day for the next nine days, Achilles drags Hector's body in circles around Patroclus's funeral bier. At last, the gods agree that Hector deserves a proper burial. Zeus sends the god Hermes to escort King Priam, Hector's father and the ruler of Troy, into the Achaean camp.
Incensed with wrath, Achilles takes his vengeance a step further, and drags Hector's body from his chariot around the walls of Troy. The king and his wife, who were unable to dissuade this shameful act, remain on top of the walls.
Hector wants to battle Achilles to avenge his country and defend it against future Greek attacks. In An Iliad, he considers reasoning with Achilles, but his pride overcomes him. Similarly, instead of letting bygones be bygones, Achilles swears vengeance on Hector and goes after him and his armies.
Achilles' only weakness was his heel. According to legend, his mother had taken him to the River Styx, which was supposed to offer powers of invincibility, and dipped his body into the water. Because she held him by the heel, it was not washed over by the water of the magical river (see Figure 1).
The gods argue back and forth, but eventually Zeus, the king of the gods, sends Achilles' mother, Thetis, to request that Achilles return the body of Hector to the dead man's father for a ransom of gold. Achilles agrees in order to show respect for the gods.
The total number of men killed by Achilles in the Iliad is problematic, but the most obvious count is twenty-four within the main narrative (excluding the Catalog of Ships and Pre-Iliadic exploits).
As the Greeks stormed the Trojan castle, Hector came out to meet Achilles in single combat—wearing the fateful armor of Achilles taken off the body of Patroclus. Achilles aimed and shot his spear into a small gap in the neck area of that armor, killing Hector.
Summary: Book 24
Apollo, meanwhile, protects Hector's corpse from damage and rot and staves off dogs and scavengers. Finally, on the twelfth day after Hector's death, Apollo persuades Zeus that Achilles must let Hector's body be ransomed.