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Similes in "The Iliad" and What They Tell Us

Uploaded by Quest4Glory on Jul 05, 2004

"The Iliad", an epic tale told by the famous Greek author Homer, is focused primarily on the Trojan War between the Greeks, or Argives, and the Trojans. This war was filled with bloody battles and a massive loss of life. Homer tells stories about a duration of time during this fighting, and not the entire war. He uses his story-telling abilities to focus the audience on the garish and sometimes mundane drudgery of war. Due to his removal from the actual time of these battles, his stories may be embellished or not completely accurate descriptions of what did or did not happen. Overall, however, the Iliad is believed to be mostly true.

Homer was born, most likely, in the 8th Century B.C. He is widely believed to be the best and most popular of the Ionian poets. His birthplace is not known beyond a doubt. Some have even said that he may have been blind. This idea has its share of critics though, since Homer details specific landscape scenes all throughout his works, and most of his writing is focused on the vision of the scene in which he describes.

Homer relies heavily on descriptions to get his points across to the audience. In Homer's time, stories were told orally. Therefore, as a good writer, he attempted to write eloquently to convey to the audience the overall feeling of his stories. William Shakespeare did the same thing in his writing. Shakespeare knew that his work was going to be performed, and that his audience was predominantly illiterate. He knew that if he created a quality story and told it in an interesting way, he would gain greater popularity by allowing those who didn't understand to be entertained anyway. Homer used this to his advantage in his time also through the use of elaborate descriptions of battles and scenes, and with similes and metaphors.

The similes and metaphors of The Iliad, in my opinion, are the real attention-grabbing parts of the story. Homer's descriptions using similes are mostly very detailed and often rather grotesque. The similes in his writing serve to make the audience imagine exactly what is happening in the story. For example:

"They swarmed forth like wasps from a roadside nest…" (p.421, 305-308)

Homer could simply say that the army moved forward and swarmed the opposing lines, but by the use of his simile, the audience gets a perfect...

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Uploaded by:   Quest4Glory

Date:   07/05/2004

Category:   The Illiad

Length:   7 pages (1,488 words)

Views:   24347

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