What Is an Epic Simile?

Topics: Homer, Iliad, Odyssey Pages: 1 (310 words) Published: October 15, 2011
What is an Epic Simile?
An Epic simile, also referred to as Homeric simile, shows a similarity on an elaborate level between two subjects that is described in many lines of poetry. In Homer’s epic, The Iliad, he uses a number of similes to foreshadow what is to come, “to glorify them (characters) and sometimes merely to call attention to them” (Shipp), or battle scenes. In the passage provided, Homer compares the battle between the Achaeans and Trojans with conflicts that occur in nature. These comparisons demonstrate the brutal massacre that happens to the barbaric warriors. Homer cleverly puts in his own words, that our natural world is not merciful. For instance, we can all agree that wild animals do not seek and kill their pray, and then feel regret. One can see this certain comparison in the text, “…hacking into each other, and neither side now had a thought of flight that would have meant disaster” (Homer 174, 397-398). Homer’s use of similes paints a picture of how the battle is played out. Also, his comparisons between the battle and nature give an emotional mindset of the untamed anger of the warriors built against each other. These men were portrayed as to not being afraid of death, and were prepared to undergo any suffering for their honor and glory. In modern day, it is natural for man to defend himself, but Homer’s words framed men to be heroic and courageous, and nothing was more honorable than fighting and dying for their motherland. In the gruesome clash between the men, it seems that they disregard civilization and become the wild animals fighting for their prey.

Works Cited
Homer, and Stanley Lombardo. Iliad. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 1997. Print. Shipp, G. P. "General Remarks on Similes." Studies in the Language of Homer,. Cambridge [Eng.: University, 1972. Print.
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