• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Use of Epithets and Similes to Make Characters Familiar in The Odyssey

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Words for a Round Odysseus: The Use of Epithets and Similes to Make Characters Familiar in The Odyssey There are ways of making the impulses and reactions of character's clear and easy to predict without being repetitive and boring. One technique used by authors is epithets, characterizing words or phrases that accompany names. Homer is among the first authors credited with the use of this formula, and his epic poem The Odyssey is proof enough, as he uses many different epithets to describe different characters, major and minor alike, throughout. Odysseus, the main protagonist, must endure many trials and challenges before he can return to his house, family and people on his island home Ithaca, after ten years of waging war against the city of Troy. During these trials, as well as other events that take place in the story, Homer's use of a variety of epithets briefly describe either one of his attributes or flaws, depending on perception and the event itself. Homer also uses puns and very vivid similes and metaphors to fulfill the same purpose, exposing a part of the character that would otherwise remain hidden, but these do so in greater depth. ...read more.

Middle

Another characteristic of Odysseus' personality is his ingrained rage and intensity. Early in the story, before Homer introduces the readers to "hotheaded Odysseus" (10.481), a friend of his, Menelaus, refers to Odysseus as the lion when he says, "but back the lion comes to his lair/ and the master deals both fawns a ghastly blood death," where the fawns are the suitors that plague his household and seek to marry Odysseus' wife (4.377-378). Odysseus' epithet and the metaphor both describe Odysseus as a person who is easily enraged. The metaphor enhances this and indicates that, once he allows himself to get angry, Odysseus loses control and cannot stop himself until he has taken his revenge for whatever blow he has been forced to receive, and this reflex is very similar to the instincts of lions. Odysseus is wild and an impressively skilled soldier and, when they are combined, they can cause very serious damage, hence Menelaus' prediction of the suitors brutal, messy deaths. Without this simile, it would have been much harder to understand some of Odysseus' actions later on in the story that are driven on by this rage. Towards the end of the story, Odysseus is found within the midst of all 109 of his wife's suitors' mutilated bodies and is described as "splattered with bloody filth like a lion that's devoured/ some ox" (22.427-428). ...read more.

Conclusion

Though this story is actually a discrete means of requesting a cloak, it is also the real Odysseus slyly inventing a story about his own cunning. Whether this is done subconsciously or not, it is irrelevant, because it does not take away the fact that Odysseus is so accustomed to having to make up stories that he even using this one. This story is a perfect method to make him more predictable because from now on it can safely be assumed that Odysseus will consider this form of deception the easiest way to achieve whatever it is he desires. Homer excelled all possible expectations concerning the use of language to increase the reader's understanding of his characters. Because of his repetitive use of literary devices like epithets, metaphors and similes, Odysseus seems very familiar and his decisions and reactions are easy to accept and understand. Had there been no use of these devices, Odysseus would have been a flat character, and it would have seemed too difficult to predict and understand any of his decisions or motives because there would not have been an intimate relationship between the readers and the character. The absence of these devices would have also diminished the effect of the story and would have decreased its quality and value. It would have lost its charm. Word Count: 1,269 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Iliad, Odyssey, and Metamorphoses - Hubris

    Odysseus tells Polyphemus this, but Polyphemus "would not let you go for fear of Zeus because the Cyclopes have more force by far". Polyphemus then rage's the gods further by kidnapping and eating Odysseus' men, both of which are considered extremely insulting in Greek society.

  2. History research - Early Australian bushrangers. English writing -my region and favourite authors.

    In Australia, for example, the population was estimated at between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people in 1788. This had declined to about 60,000 people in the 1920s. Torres Strait Islanders A Thursday Island Torres Strait dancer. Image courtesy of State Library of Queensland In Australia, Torres Strait Islanders experienced displacement after

  1. In what ways and to what effect, does Milton use comparison in Paradise Lost ...

    As well as making allegorical allusions, Milton also makes allusions to other literary works. The first allusion he makes is in the first two lines of Book two; "High on a throne of royal state, which far Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,..."(II.1-2)

  2. Aspects Trapping Two Characters to their Society-Les Belles Soeurs

    her friends live as she says "They should be hidden away somewhere. They don't know how to live! We broke away from this and we must never, ever go back. Dear God, they make me so ashamed!" p.54. Lisette understands that her friends live a disgusting and revolting lifestyle, and

  1. Long Days Journey Into Night

    The main occurrence of the play is the return of Mary's 'illness' - her return to taking morphine, and other than this very little else actually physically happens to any of the characters during the play. That her illness is actually characterised by a return to the past is particularly

  2. Vietnamese Poetry and Language

    Sau ho�i tra�m nga�m, to�i nga�p ng��ng: - Kho�ng no�i do�i g� tha�y, to�i �ang �i kie�m va�i bo�ng, mang ve� ta�ng mo�t ng��i. Ba� a�y gia� la�m, sa�p che�t ro�i, va� ch� ao ��c mo�t la�n ���c ng��i mu�i h��ng ho�ng que�.

  1. Methods Of Motivation I Use To Excel In A College Program

    55. Motivation involves a constellation of closely related beliefs, perceptions, values, interests, and actions. 56. 57. Traditionally, educators consider intrinsic motivation to be more desirable and to result in better learning outcomes than extrinsic motivation. In general, children appear to enter school with high levels of intrinsic motivation, although motivation tends to decline as children progress through school.

  2. The Other Slipper - retelling the story of Cinderella.

    ?I?ll provide you with whatever you need. Footprints, scents, shoe fittings! Forget your order to please my father for now.? He commanded. The count went to his supremacy chamber, in search for even the most microscopic detail and clue. While the prince embitters himself at his inability to remember the girl he knew he was going to marry.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work