Dear friends, be men now. Put courage into your hearts / and act honorable in the sight of your comrades in battle. / When men act with honor, more are saved than are killed, / but when they take flight, there is neither glory nor refuge.

Agamemnon spurs his soldiers on with these words, reminding them what is at stake in the war with the Trojans. The glory the Achaeans can achieve comes from fighting together, on behalf of their fellow soldiers, so that they may save lives. However, it is not only the saving of lives that grants glory, but also acting with honor on the battlefield. To run away from a fight is seen as dishonorable, and therefore lacking in glory. 

Even if Zeus puts a glorious triumph / within your grasp, you mustn’t push on without me; / if you do, you will take the honor that should be mine.

Multiple characters throughout The Iliad call Achilles out for his lack of compassion. They attribute it to his zeal for war, and we can see that selfish zeal on display in this quote. It is not Achilles’s war-hungry attitude his fellow Achaeans see a problem with, but rather his choice to stay out of the fight. Achilles sends his dearest friend, Patroclus, into battle in his own armor so the Achaean troops will be rallied by the sight of a man they think is Achilles. However, the glory of war holds a strong enough pull for Achilles that he tells Patroclus not to set himself apart too much and overshadow Achilles. The genre of epic poetry reinforces this idea that it is not a person’s character, but rather his skill which earns him a legacy as a hero.

Let me at least die gloriously, with a struggle, / and do some great deed that men will praise for all time.

When Hector realizes he is about to die at Achilles’s hand, he is less concerned with the act of death than dying without glory. He has already created a legacy for himself as a warrior, but he wants his death to have significance as well. If Achilles were to kill him while he ran away, Hector’s death would be tainted by his refusal to put up a fight. Because he faces Achilles in battle, at the end Hector is mourned by the Trojans as a fallen hero rather than a coward.