Homer 's Use Of Similes And The Impact On An Unsuspecting Audience Essay

Homer 's Use Of Similes And The Impact On An Unsuspecting Audience Essay

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Kelly Mahowski
CLT 3103
Prof. Amy Oh
5 October 2014
Homer’s Use of Similes and the Impact on an Unsuspecting Audience

Epic similes are perhaps the greatest tool that Homer utilizes in the Iliad. It seems as if it would be possible to find a simile within just a few pages of the book if opened to a random chapter. There is a noticeable pattern Homer employs which involves using everyday Greek activities in these similes in order to make them more relatable to his audience. When the Greeks hear an epic simile that uses something familiar it invokes feelings associated with that thing. The Iliad is an incredibly epic tale, so it would be fruitful for Homer to use similes that could connect the fantastical reality of the tale to the more mundane reality of the Greeks hearing this story. Another use of epic similes in the tale could be political. Since the dialogue in the tale is mostly run by the Greeks – the winners- the similes inflect a bias towards the Greek army and, consequently, Homer’s political views.
Most of the stories surrounding the Trojan War were about the great Greek victory, and how they besieged Troy. Homer, however, uses epic similes to lend favor to the Trojans. In a specific instance, Agamemnon tries to trick the troops into being spirited by acting dejected, thinking they will rally to prove him wrong. In the unsurprising turn of events, the army bolts to the ships “swarm[ing] like bees that sally from some hollow cave and flit in countless throng among the spring flowers, bunched in knots and clusters” (Homer 2.90-92) Bees evoke the thought of chaos and being “bunched in knots” and from a “hollow cave” give the impression that the Greek army is a bunch of confused men who are desperate to fl...

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...r he uses a similar simile tactic: “There were serpents of lapis lazuli that reared themselves up towards the neck, three upon either side, like the rainbows which the son of Kronos has set in heaven as a sign to mortal men.” (Homer 11.22-24) This armor seems wondrous and splendid, but it also does not seem battle worthy. Homer uses similes for both Agamemnon and Paris to demonstrate their lack of importance on the battlefield. Neither is prized for his fighting skills.
Homer’s epic similes were extremely important in the Iliad. He was able to take foreign things and compare them to familiar things so his audience could connect with the story. Within his similes, however, lie political views that may have subconsciously swayed some to think of the Trojans in a more favorable way.

Works Cited
Homer. The Iliad. Trans. Robert Fagles. NY: Penguin Books, 1990 .

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