Iliad By Homer


The essay of Iliad, Homer finds a great tool in the simile. Just by opening the book in a random place the reader is undoubtedly faced with one, or within a few pages. Homer seems to use everyday activities, at least for the audience, his fellow Greeks, in these similes nearly exclusively. From the heroic effortsin the Iliad itself it is clear that the populace of his timewere highly emotional creatures, and higher brain activity seems to be in short, and in Odysseus' case, valuable, order. In the Iliad, there seems to be relatively little storyline from the Trojan's side. We are regaled with story uponstory of the Greeks, their heroes, and their exploits, while the Trojan's are conspicuously quiet, sans Hector of course. It could almost be assumed that throughout time most of the knowledge of the battle from the Trojan side had been lost. Considering the ability to affect feelings with similes, and the one-sided view of history, Homer could be using similes to guide the reader in the direction of his personal views, ashappens with modern day political "spin". These views that Homer might be trying to get across might be trying to favor Troy. It could easily be imagined that throughout time, only great things were heard about the Greeks mettle in war, and that Homer is attempting to balance the scales a bit by romanticizing the Trojan peoples, especially Hector, and bringing to light the lesser-heard tales of Greek stupidity. Shortly into Book Two, Agamemnon gives the speech to his assembly about his plan to rally the troops with reverse psychology. Agamemnon shall announce he is giving up on takingTroy, whereupon the individual army captains will then "prevent their doing so." When the announcement is made, King Agamemnonis startled to see the ranks, not surprisingly, take advantage ofthe chance to leave and make for the ships with vigor. Homer describes the scene as "bees that sally from some hollow cave and flit in countless throng among the spring flowers, bunched in knots and clusters..." This simile is tainted with dark wordslike "from a hollow cave" and "bunched in knots", giving the "bees" an ominous tone. A short, but emotionally appealing, simile is found after the Greek warriors have changed their mind about leaving and return to the Scamander: "They stood as thick upon the flower-be spangled field as leaves that bloom in summer." This scene assumes quite a juxtaposition. A flower-be spangled battlefield? This is perhaps an attempt to show the absurdity of the Greek army, changing positions from fleeing to brazenness as flowers are to the field of death. Near the beginning of Book Three a group of elders of Troy, not fighting material, but skilled orators, are found resting on the tower "like cicadas that chirrup delicately from the boughs of some high tree in a wood." The cicadas song and the "tree in a wood" cast memories of repose and relaxation, rest and peace, which are then injected into the "delicate" elders. Later in Book Five, there is a great dichotomy of similes. First, Hera comes down "flying like turtle doves in eagerness to help the Argives." followed by a scene surrounding Diomedes where his men are "fighting like lions or wild boars." Both of these have their own respective importance. While lions and boars are notoriously vicious creatures, sure to raise a hackle or two on a Greek reader, and when exercised on Diomede sit brings their ferocity home. The interesting thing here is the contrast between the two. This is another example of how the Greeks are made to look like animals. In Book Ten Nestor comments on a set of horses that Odysseusis ushering, won by Diomedes through killing some Trojans, that they are "like sunbeams." A very short, and odd, description for horses. One is reminded of Apollo and his kinship with his chariot, often referred to as racing across the heavens. Shortly after Agamemnon dons his armor. On this armor fit for a king were "serpents of Cyanus" that appeared "like therainbows which were set in heaven." Quite an interesting description of something that is supposed to in still fear in ones enemy. The snake, as a notoriously evil incarnation, resembling a rainbow seems foreign. The secret lies in the rest of the armor, that it is liberally covered in gold brings home the idea of the