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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?

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Introduction

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"1 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"2 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.3. 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. ...read more.

Middle

Notice the quality and diversity of the speech. The amount of direct speech serves to make silence even more poignant (Book 16 and Odysseus and Penelope 23.85-96) In example notice gnomes in the last lines of direct speech which sees the wisdom of generations contained in brief statement and phrasing reveals high moral tone. Direct speech also plays an important role in assisting vizualisation of outward appearance, as Homeric narrative rarely describes specific visual characteristics. It generally attempts to build up a mental impression of the people as opposed to detailed visual picture as the 'beautiful is never described'6 except for Thersites in Illiad when the poet delights in his uglification (II . 216)and that is the beauty of roots in oral tradition. Open ended characters and Odysseus' is different to everyone whether you admire his wit and slyness or feel him distrustful. The Artistic detail revealed through speech as the "poet endows his heroic characters with the knowledge which he himself possesses"7 EMBEDDED FOCALIZATIONSimilarly often through direct speech main features are marked in advance by forecast or prophecy (1.16)(4.767)central actions like the death of the suitors is forecast more than once, each one emphasising more and more the tragic and sinister character of what is to come, it also increases tension of some main events and glues the long story together with consistency. Thirty nine Similes (metaphor extended and simplified) make the text vivid and the extended epic simile is a peculiar feature of Homeric epic. ...read more.

Conclusion

Probably through oral tradition allows easilt memeorable as a pattern to stick to. Oral tadition Homer must omit "much that a literate poet might think necessary and that he employs certain devices to make his narrative easy to follow". Homer has a basic consideration for hearers great influence on narrative technique. The rhapsodes success is judged by the course of recitation thus primarily want to keep hold of readers attention . Homer wants to coax the listener into a state of "relaxed receptivity" thus developed directness, simplicity and fullness in its narrative and has a dramatic manner of incidents. This characterizes dialogue and whole structures of Odysseus and Illiad. The skill as a story teller comes through Odyyseeys development mid book not the outcome of the story his eluding charm etc. Homer concern with hearer eveident in his tendency to repeat incidents, motifs and themes and in part for stock phrases, this all protects the rhapsode from slowing down and assists a listeners memory without effort of their part. Milmann Parry "that inattention was the normal compliment paid by an audience to a recurrent epithet"9 . Depite vagueness Homeric narrative "provides the most elaborate and convincing representations of individual psychology to be found in classical literature" 1 Trypanis A . The Homeric epics . (1977) 2 Parry M . The making of Homeric Verse. 3 Ibid. 4 Les Origines indo-europeennes des metres grecs, Paris, 1923 5 Plato . Republic . 394 b 6 ibid. 7 Scholl BT OD 8 see Most G.W. TAPA 119 (1989)22 9 Parry M . Homer tradition . 43 ...read more.

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