Describe and illustrate what you consider to be the key features of Homers narrative technique. How relevant is the idea of an oral tradition to our appreciation of the Odyssey?

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Describe and illustrate what you consider to be the key features of Homers narrative technique. How relevant is the idea of an oral tradition to our appreciation of the Odyssey?

The importance of Homer’s narrative technique in appreciation of the Odyssey cannot be emphasised enough. The role of similes, rhythm, formulaic composition, epithets, rhythm, folktale motifs and direct speech is to create composure in the poem and give rise to a particular form of Homeric narrative. The texture of the poem allows a reader or audience a “creative share in the artistic experience” as the numerous literary devices create a colourful epic narrative comprised of the objective, the subjective and the dramatic. The notion of an oral tradition runs closely alongside Homeric narrative in our appreciation of the Odyssey, and the ideas are closely entwined with one another. Thus to comprehend key features of Homeric narrative, it is important to consider the role of the oral tradition in the formulation of this.

To understand key features of Homeric narrative it is first worth considering the critical role of the “linguistic phonomena of our text of Homer” and its profound effect on the poem. The elements of phonetics, morphology, and vocabulary  which characterize the narrative is a construction of Aeolic, Ionic, artificial, and possibly Achaean text. Homer exercised obsolete word form, new word forms and even created artificial forms in order to utilize a language adapted to the needs of hexameter versification.. Thus formula was clearly of primary importance in Homeric narrative to the extent that language had to cater for formula not formula to language, born frth from the strict adherence to the oral tradition. It clearly allows flexibility in compusure for the bard as the infinitive ‘to be’ has following forms in Homeric narrative: emen, emmen, emenai, emmenai, einai, each is particular to a period yet  each gives different numbers of syllables at the poets disposal thus can adhere to rhythmic structure. 

Formula frames the Odyssey from the beginning, every repeated expression down to stock scenes  and themes that are rcorrent in the same formulaic composition. Origin of the works of Rothe, of Scott and Shewan set out to demonstrate that formulae are found everywhere in Homer and that there must be a common stock from which every epic poet could draw. There does remain question as to how much to attrbute to the individual poet as Homeric tradition or just as bardic tradition in general thus does it constitute Homeric narrative. M.Meillet wrote that ‘Homeric epic is entirely composed of formulae handed down from poet to poet. An examination of any passage will quickly reveal that it is made up of lines and fragments of lines which are reproduced word for word in one or several other passages’ Two fold purpose of formulaic composition allowed expression of ideas in a suitable manner, and of attenuating the difficulties of versification. Example of Traditional epithet as repetition (list no. of places) meant when context required it, and when the sense allowed it, bard could make any combination of these expressions creating both a correct line and a complete sentence. Numerous examples of an expression regularly used under the same metrical conditions, to express an essential idea about a charafcter important when considering the authors intehntion of allowing the audience some hint of chracter. A proper noun with the help of some epithetic word  creates a formula which exactly fills that portion of the line which extends from the feminine caesura to the end. This is called noun epithet formula as it is of a given metrical value  and is made up of particular parts of speech. They  indirectly attempt to identify certain characteristics or manners with each hero and distinguish him from others without stone character that is not individual to listeners opinion. Repetition through Stock scenes is also present not metrically identical yet structurally identical for example 1.102 and 14.? Prime examples of Hospitality stock scene.(GO INTO SPECIFICS). In relation to the oral tradition it allowed the bards to convey the long tale in a consistent way without needing to stretch amzing memory even further, it als highlights or makes more apparent characters who don’t adhere to the rules of hospitality characterizing them in a negative way as Homer intended. The solidity of narrative created by repetition of type scenes important adds a acertain kind of skeleton structure to the poem.

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Direct speech comprises 45 % of the Odyssey and is therefore an important feature of Homeric narrative. It conveys a violence of emotion that is both dramatic and allows the characters themselves to develop the plot or reveal their own personalities. Plato said of Homers use of dialogue that it has a unique life of its own . Two kinds of direct speech; either public or private. Private speech (EG) sees characters talk amongst themselves and evoke spontaneous emotion  that further characterizes. Similarly public speeches sees leaders put forward opinions in council or agora same role  except it normally displays ...

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