Analysis Of ' Between Lions And Men ' And ' The Iliad ' Essay

820 Words Nov 29th, 2016 4 Pages
Michael Clarke, in his article “Between Lions and Men: Images of the Hero in the Iliad” (1995), explores the true meaning behind Homeric similes, specifically those relating men and beasts. By studying these “beast-similes”, Clarke hopes to reveal their influence on the depiction of heroes throughout the poem, as well as the poem’s theme of heroism. The author begins the article by stating the common idea that the similes of the Iliad are simply adornments made to amplify Homer’s recreation of the heroic age. Upon further analysis of these comparisons, Clarke is able to conclude that the beast-similes Homer strategically uses do much more than merely enhance the heroic depictions throughout the poem; they are symbolic comparisons used to portray the challenges of heroism in Homer’s world.
As his thesis states, the aim of Clarke’s research is to propose that the comparison of wild animals within Homer’s poems play a much larger role than merely adding to the overall style and pizazz of the epics; he believes that the use of beast-similes enhance Homer’s interpretation of the “ethical and psychological problems of heroism” . He specifically focuses on a comparison used during Achilles’ final battle with Hector: “there are no binding oaths between men and lions– wolves and lambs… they are bent on hating each other to the death. So with you and me” (often concisely referred to as “between lions and men”). The “between lions and men” simile alone is seen to largely impact the…

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