Homer His Life And His Works


Length: 1015 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Homer:
His Life and His Works

Greeks had used writing since c. 1400 BC, but it was not until the late 8th century BC that their literature was first written down. Greek literature began in Ionia with the brilliant epics of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey. These mature products of a long tradition of oral poetry brought together a vast body of divine and heroic myths and sagas that served as a foundation for much subsequent Greek literature. The epic view of humankind had a lasting influence on Greek thought; indeed, it has been said that later Greek literature is but a series of footnotes to Homer.
Homer is said to have been blind and told his stories orally. Because the facts of Homer’s life when he was born or died, where he lived, who he was- remain unknown and shall most likely never be known. Many scholars have doubted the existence of a “Homer” and point to his texts as the work of a collection of authors over a long period of time.
This criticism stems from a disbelief that epics such as The Iliad and The Odyssey could have been formulated, maintained, and transmitted within an oral culture. However, new research on human memory and careful analysis of text reveals evidence that the textual style of each poem does emanate from one author.
We know that he wrote two poems about the Greeks and their gods. The Iliad was Homer’s first epic poem, which tells the story of the Trojan War. His second epic is the Odyssey, which tells the story of a great hero Odysseus, and the adventures he embarks on. Tradition has it that he lived in the 12th century BC, around the time of the Trojan War, in an Ionic settlement, either Chios or Smyrna, where he made his living as a court singer and storyteller.
Modern archaeological research has uncovered artifacts similar to those described in the poems, providing evidence that Homer wrote at a later date. Because the poems display a considerable knowledge of Eastern, or Ionian, Greece and are written in the dialect of that region, most scholars now suppose that Homer was Ionian of the 8th or 9th century BC. Homer writes nothing of himself in his poems, but similes in the Iliad and the Odyssey frequently make reference to the humble lives of farmers and artisans, so it is sometimes conjectured that Homer was of this class.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Homer His Life And His Works." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Feb 2018
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=70004>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay about The Mysterious Homer, Author of The Odyssey and The Iliad - The Mysterious Homer, Author of The Odyssey and The Iliad  A sketchy figure by the name of Homer is given credit for the two great epic poems of ancient Greece. The Odyssey and The Iliad influenced Greek culture, education, and morality. Little is known about Homer and many scholars question whether he existed at all. (Encarta) Some say two different unknown authors wrote the two poems. (Britannica) Others say that many oral poets were responsible for the finished products. (Britannica) In this report I will discuss the theories that support the existence of an author named Homer....   [tags: Homer]
:: 3 Works Cited
675 words
(1.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Art of Manipulation in Homer's Odyssey Essay - The Art of Manipulation in Homer's Odyssey   They sit, entranced in the magic of his words. He pauses. On the edge of their seats, they await in silence his next utterance. The one spoken of is not a bard or man refined in the art of song, but rather a warrior scarred and hardened through intense conflict. He has a special mastery of the spoken language that enraptures his audience and a gift that endows him to command and persuade them without physical force. This man is a manipulator of words, a subtle combatant....   [tags: Homer Odyssey] 942 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Homer's The Odyssey - Homer's The Odyssey Works Cited Not Included In Homer’s historic epic The Odyssey the protagonist, Odysseus, is venturing home to his native land of Ithaca. Throughout the story Odysseus is faced with many great challenges and is forced to make many decisions that will greatly affect his life and that of everyone around him. Each decision is crucial to his survival and his journey home. Homer portrays many patterns that are susceptible throughout the tale. One of the major themes that he portrays is that temptation can befall any man, even Odysseus....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Odysseus Essays] 1462 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay The Role of the Gods in Homer's Odyssey - The Role of the Gods in Homer's Odyssey Odysseus is a man. He is not a god, yet he seeks protection and assistance from the gods because he knows that it is necessary. The authority of the gods over Odysseus and the other characters in this ancient epic is obvious. Through out the story, we see example after example of the gods intervening in the life of Odysseus. The story opens with Odysseus living on the island of Kalypso. He is being held against his will. He partially submits to her, but will not become her husband....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
690 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Gods in Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey Essay - The Gods in Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey The stories told in the Iliad and Odyssey are based on stories handed down over several generations, for they preserve (as we have seen) memories of an already quiet far distant past. The two pomes show clear connection in their language and style, in the manner in which their incidents presented, and in the combination of agreement with level, which distinguish their creation. The work was written by one author but gave two diverse views on the nature of the Olympian Gods, their relationship to humankind, and the general lot of mortals throughout their all too brief lives....   [tags: Homer The Iliad The Odyssey] 1407 words
(4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Loyalty in Homer's Odyssey Essay - Loyal Relationships in Homer's Odyssey Loyalty is heroic. Loyalty is defined as faithfulness or devotion to a person, cause, obligations, or duties. In Homer's Odyssey one can see loyalty in many forms. Odysseus is loyal to the gods whom he realized held his life in their hands. Penelope was loyal to Odysseus, while trying not to offend the rude suitors. Telemachus was loyal to a father whom he only knew from the stories he had been told. Time and time again we see loyalty in the strongest sense, complete fidelity in time of uncertainty....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
600 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about Destiny, Fate and Free Will in Homer's Odyssey - Destiny, Fate and Free Will in Homer's Odyssey     Fate seems to defy humanity at every turn.  A man may have his life planned out to the last second, but then some random force intervenes and he dies the second after he has completed his life plan.  Some believe in fate, believing that our lives are predetermined from the moment we are born.  Other people believe that everything is random, the result of some god rolling the dice in a universal poker game.  Still other people believe that each and every person is in total control of his or her destiny, every step of the way.  Who is to say which viewpoint is false?  Every culture has a unique perception of the role of fate in our lives, an...   [tags: Homer, Odyssey Essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
2296 words
(6.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Lust in Homer's The Odyssey and Aristophanes’ Lysistrata - Lust in Homer's The Odyssey and Aristophanes’ Lysistrata Lust is defined as an intense longing or a sexual desire. It is a common theme in literature; particularly in classic Greek literature. The reason it is so prevalent in literature is that is prevalent in our daily lives. Everyone lusts after something or someone. It is an interesting topic to examine closely, and classic literature is an excellent medium for such an investigation. Two works I have studied, in which lust is a theme, are an epic, Homer's The Odyssey, and a play, Aristophanes’ Lysistrata....   [tags: Odyssey Lysistrata Homer Aristophanes Essays] 1388 words
(4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Symbolism, Imagery and Diction in Homer’s Odyssey - Symbolism, Imagery and Diction in Homer’s Odyssey During the course of history, the world has seen many fine works of literature like Homer’s epic, Odyssey. This book is a standard against which to compare all literary novels. The symbolism permeates the pages drawing the reader into the intriguing plot that includes twists within the central theme. Also, the author intelligently uses imagery and diction painting dramatic images in the reader's mind - building upon major the themes. The book contains a captivating use of symbolism making the story more interesting and understandable....   [tags: Homer Odyssey Essays] 887 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Homer and Immortality Essay - Homer and Immortality Immortality is one the subject of much mythology and folklore. From the stories of the gods themselves, to Achilles and the Styx, to vampires and present day Christian beliefs in an afterlife, the concept of immortality has been with humanity since the beginning of humanity. The wise and ever edifying Homer leaves myths of the elusive ever-lasting life out of his works; did Homer's Achilles not wear armor. The Odyssey is a story of mortality. Limitation and suffering are what define humanity, yet they are also what give life merit....   [tags: Papers] 540 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]

Related Searches





The question of how the poems were composed also remains a matter for debate. It is likely that Homer and his audience were members of a preliterate, oral culture and that his poems were written down long after their original composition. Nineteenth-century scholars argued that one person could not memorize so long a text and that an editor, who merged several independent works into a consistent whole, must have compiled the poems. This view is supported by the occasional inconsistencies of narrative and awkward transitions from subject to subject.
Twentieth-century studies of preliterate societies have shown, however, that poets whose recitations belong to a long tradition of storytelling can compose lengthy works orally. The oral poet constructs his poem from verbal formulas, groups of two or more words that have already been composed in order to serve recurring needs in the narrative. These may be used, for example when the poet wishes to reintroduce a character that he has already described. Formulaic passages may also extend over several lines and describe actions such as combat or the preparation of a meal.
The oral poet composes for listeners who, like the audience at a musical concert, base their appreciation on the repetitive elements that bind a work together and impress its theme on the memory. Like the poet of Beowulf, Homer was probably a practitioner of an inherited art, retelling a story that his audience had heard many times before.
Differences of style and language between the Iliad and the Odyssey have led some critics to argue that each is the work of a different poet. The 3rd-century AD literary critic Longinus suggested, however, that the Iliad was the work of Homer's youth and the Odyssey of his maturity.
This simple but acute perception accounts for the wide divergences in moral and religious tone between the two. The Iliad is the tragic story of the noble Achilles, who perfectly embodies the ancient Greek ideals of heroic conduct but also suffers from the human failings of pride and anger. The Grecian army is divided by bickering, many admirable men are killed, and even the gods quarrel.
The Odyssey, by contrast, contains many comic episodes, and its hero, Odysseus, triumphs over formidable adversaries through his superior intelligence, not by brute strength. The Iliad portrays a universe marred by moral disorder, but the Odyssey shows gods punishing men for their sins and granting good man his just reward.
The ancient Greeks regarded Homer as divine and respected his work as a source of wisdom and model of heroic conduct. His influence on later literature is too extensive to be assessed but may be traced from Hesoid to the present day. The Roman poet Virgil emulated both the Iliad and the Odyssey in his Aeneid, whose hero, Aeneas, displays the courage of Achilles and the wisdom of Odysseus. Aeneas's wanderings from Troy to Italy--where he founds the city of Rome--provided Roman readers with a myth that linked their own culture with that of ancient Greece. The Homeric tradition in literature inspired William Shakespeare's tragic and antiheroic Troilus and Cressida (1609) and James Joyce's Ulysses (1922), which transports the deeds of Odysseus to the setting of 20th-century Dublin.







References
Eagleton, Terry (1983). Literary Theory: An Introduction. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Griffin, Jasper (1987). The Odyssey. New York: Cambridge University Press.
The Odyssey. Trans. T. E. Lawrence. 1932. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Classics, 1993
The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: The Penguin Group, 1996.
Stanford, W.B (1963). The Ulysses Theme: The Study of the Adaptability of a Traditional Hero. Dallas: Spring Publications, 7.


Stewart M. Whobrey
Reading in the Classics –GS4401E
September 2, 2000









Return to 123HelpMe.com