Henry Fielding’s "Tom Jones": Homeric Epithets and Personifications with a Satirical Twist

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Henry Fielding felt great concern towards the embellished stylization of epic novels, and in order to relay his critiques of this popularized genre, he constructed an epic parody to reveal the turgid grandiose nature of such works through a sarcastic spoof. Commenced with his mordant invocation of a muse, Henry Fielding’s epic parody, Tom Jones emphasizes droll concern with the classical epic style by christening Homeric epithets and personifications with a satirical twist. Henry Fielding dives into the Homeric form with extensive invocations and catalogues to the Muse. By introducing the central plot of the epic parody with, “Ye Muses…who love to sing battles…all things are not in the power of all,” all ‘classical scholars’ can…show more content…
Conventional Homeric epithets and personifications are littered throughout this parody to serve as both a presage and a source of amusement to the reader. The first of these names is the sardonic,” Black George” whose “envy” leads him to “betook…at last to certain missle weapons”. This cryptic epithet defines him as such; both in his disciplined and undisciplined conditions he is aggressive. Fielding cleverly contrives personifications only one privy to Homeric style can commend. When illustrating the character’s moods he implicates, “ chiefly Envy, sister of Satan,” which is uncertainly similar to The Iliad’s “Dawn” or “Fury”. This remarkable tool gives the otherwise elementary emotion of envy a new embodiment and dimension. Fielding then continues to attribute this tool with Saran, further extending this sentiment creating great stress on such occurrence. Fielding uses perceptive Homeric epithets and personifications to adorn humor in this tragedy to create a harmonious paradox. Fielding utilizes clever and concise epithets as well as ample applications of personification in order to divulge his message. Essentially, Henry

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