Similes in Homer's Iliad Essay

1866 Words 8 Pages
An Examination of Similes in the Iliad - and how Homer's Use of Them Affected the
Story

In the 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. When one is confronted with a situation that is familiar, one is more likely to put aside contemplating the topic and simply inject those known feelings. This would definitely be an effective tactic when used upon the people of Homer's day. From the heroic efforts in the Iliad itself it is clear that the populace of his time were highly emotional creatures, and higher
…show more content…
The Greek ranks are painted as a throng of weak-kneed wimps with their constitution sapped, obviously not the case as they go on to win the war, but it suffices to cast the Lycians in a negative light.
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-bespangled field as leaves that bloom in summer." This scene assumes quite a juxtaposition. A flower-bespangled 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. Another attempt of
Homer to cast the Trojans in a favorable light.
Later in the same book Ptolemaeus is Homer's vehicle for putting down the
Greeks again. Upon seeing shirkers of the front line of battle he likens them to "frightened fawns who, when they can no longer scud over the plain huddle
Open Document