A Closer Look At The Iliad Through Similes Essay
A Closer Look at the Iliad through Similes
Laying in the cover of a wheat-yellow shrub, a cheetah waits patiently for its prey; in contrast, a herd of gazelles peacefully drink from a water hole. The cheetah tenses, ready to make its move; the gazelles tense up, fear in their eyes. In the blink of an eye the cheetah launches after the herd; a chase, albeit a short one, ensues. The cheetah reaches its chosen prey, and the kill is complete. From an ecological perspective, the hunt can be seen as a battle––a conquest between the weak and the strong in which those who win survive. In Homeric texts, specifically the Iliad, similes are frequently utilized to showcase the violence in the text as natural––highlighting the characters’ lack of free will in an effort to justify the violence evident in the text. Through the diction used in similes, Homer effectively highlights the dynamic of battle, the unrelenting chase, and the primal urge to kill.
“As when a hawk in the mountains who moves lightest of things flying makes his effortless swoop for a trembling dove but she slips away from beneath and flies and the shrill screaming close after her plunges for her again and again, heart furious to take her; so Achilleus went straight for him in fury… (22.139-143).”
By utilizing words with a negative connotation like “trembling (22.140)” and “shrill screaming (22.141),” Homer forces the reader to acknowledge Hektor’s inferiority in battle when facing Achilleus. By…