The Iliad Essay Research Paper Similes in — страница 2

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The Iliad are comparing something to an animal. Several animals that are mentioned throughout the book are, for example: deer, lions, sheep, dogs, wolves, and hawks. The special thing about this is that each animal is always given a dominant or submissive quality. For example: “As ravenous wolves come swooping down on lambs?so the Achaeans mauled the Trojans.” (p. 424, 415). This passage shows the dominance and inherent aggressiveness of the wolf, while making the lamb to be a submissive, a victim of the wolves’ aggression. This simile shows how the fighting was going at that time for the two sides. The Achaeans were the aggressive wolves and the Trojans were the victimized lambs. These animal-focused similes also show the ferocity with which the two sides battled when

fighting each other. Many of Homer’s similes describe the merciless blood-lust shown by the armies. For example: “Hungry as wolves that rend and bolt raw flesh?” (p. 417, 188). This describes the fierce destruction by Achilles’ warriors of the opposing forces in blunt, raw terms. Along with many similes being about nature’s animals, many others involve nature’s weather. Dust storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, thunder, and others are all used to describe some aspect of the fighting. Once again, these references show the ferocity with which the armies battled. For example: “But now, wild as a black cyclone twisting out of a cloudbank, building up from the day’s heat, blasts and towers- so brazen Ares looked to Tydeus’ son Diomedes.” (p.192, 997-1000) and,

“As gale-winds swirl and shatter under the shrilling gusts on days when drifts of dust lie piled thick on the roads and winds whip up the dirt in a dense whirling cloud- so the battle broke?” (p. 352, 388-391) Fire was also used by Homer to describe the intensity of The Iliad’s battles. These were not used as much as the references to animals in the book, but fire did prove to be a major description of the fighting, as in this excerpt: “Achilles now like inhuman fire raging on through the mountain gorges splinter-dry, setting ablaze big stands of timber?storming on with brandished spear?” (p.519, 553-559). Along with the fighting and nature, Homer’s similes also show us the societal norms in ancient Greek culture when it comes to differences between the sexes. Men

were described in grand God-like terms, while women were given praise for being nurturing and caring. As a man was supposed to be rather stoic, so a woman was supposed to show emotion. Examples of this are: “?Tlepolemus tall and staunch?his strong fate was driving him now against Sarpedon, a man like a god.” (p. 184-185, 722-724), This describes the two men as god-like and sizeable in stature, and: “And so Briseis returned?but when she saw Patroclus lying torn by bronze, she flung herself on his body? she sobbed like a goddess in her grief?” (p. 497, 333-335). The second example shows the expectancy of women to lose control of their emotions and display their inner feelings. When Briseis sobs heavily, she is even said to be “like a goddess”. Men would most likely not

be called “like a God” if they were to sob and throw themselves on the body of a loved-one. The question remains; however, does this difference in the expected nature of men and women make women seem submissive to the stronger, less emotional males? On one hand, lack of emotion in Homer’s Greece was probably seen as being strong, or above pain and sorrow. Thus, males would be seen as stronger, more dominant. However, by today’s standards it is known that emotions are inescapable and must be dealt with. If the ancient Greeks did know this, then females may have a socially accepted dominance over men, but they probably did not. Finally, another important reference-type used in Homer’s similes in The Iliad deal with occupations and activities in ancient Greece’s

day-to-day life. Many similes have some occupation or action in them, which the Greeks performed. For example: “?the ranks pulled closer, tight as a mason packs a good stone wall?” (p. 419, 250-251) This excerpt shows that the ancient Greeks had masons, or men to do the building of structures. Homer also makes references to other known ancient occupations, such as farmers and priests. Nurses and poets are also talked about in The Iliad. If analyzed, it can be seen that once again in ancient Greek culture, women are expected to be the nurturers and men the laborers. Women were most often nurses, housewives, maids, or even teachers. Men were usually masons, farmers, professional warriors, or craftsmen of some sort. In conclusion, many inferences can be made pertaining to the