The Illiad Essay, Research Paper
The name “Homer” is synonymous with great tales of heroic poetry.
Although this genre of poetry hails the distinctness of being “Homeric” it is
not certain that Homer himself actually existed. The book Prolegomena ad
Hoerum, published in 1795 CE. written by F.A. Wolf, translated “The
Homeric Problem”, set in motion numerous debates among scholars
concerning Homers existence, and the fact that Homer may have been a
group of writers, and not just one man.
If we accept that Homer existed, we believe that Homer, was a blind Greek
bard, that traveled throughout Ionia reciting his poetry in exchange for room
Crawford pg. 2
In this paper I will examine and analyze the use of words that create graphic
pictures for the mind, and words that excite the imagination.
I will illustrate how the use of such a graphic idiom is still popular today.
Although we have entered a new millennium filled with special effects, and
computer graphics , many of us continue to appreciate the excitement of the
written word from those authors that produce masterpieces. The Iliad does
just that. Homer’s use of language evokes the passion of his characters and
their heartfelt emotions. The Iliad embodies action at it’s very onset, and
although long in content, captures and to an extent , possesses it’s reader.
I am sure that it is the style and meter, that Homer uses to convey his
thoughts, that make the Iliad such a classic epic.
Crawford pg. 3
In the opening lines of the Iliad, words of war capture the reader.
Rage-Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,
great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion,
feasts for the dogs and birds, (Homer 122 1-5)
It is descriptions, such as these that lure the reader in. Immediately one can
see that Achilles, (knowing him or not) is some sort of madman, responsible
for taking many lives. Homer wasted no time in the development of the
character Archilles. In these lines you are introduced to Achilles, and fear
this person consumed with rage. You are also captivated by the fact that
dead bodies become feasts for dogs and birds.
Something inside our psyche yearns to hear more of the gore that we claim to
detest. It appears evident that Homer was conscious of the dark side that all
Crawford pg. 4
Homer also employs the use of similes that enables us to relate the things that
which are familiar, to those such as the “gods”, that we do not understand.
This analogical language that Homer uses, eases the transition from not
knowing , to a better understanding.
For example, “The arrows clanged at his back as the god quaked with rage,
the god himself on the march and down he came like night. (Homer 123
51-53). In these lines Homer demonstrates through the use of simile, an
analogy between the god Apollo marching, and the coming of night both of
which inevitably occur. Here, the character of Apollo emerges and the
reader experiences his immortal presence. It is my opinion that one of the
reasons Homer’s notoriety developed, is by his clever use of metaphor and
Crawford pg. 5
During the climax of the Iliad, Hector is being chased by Achilles. The
words of Homer cause the reader to experience Hector’s fear.
Many other writers used a very similar style to vividly depict their ideas.
Nineteenth-century novelist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote a “gothic”
style novel, which consist of violence, horror and the supernatural, in her
novel Frankenstein, she used in her narrative, descriptive language that
terrified the audience of her time.
Like Adam, I was created apparently with no link to any other
being in existence, but… he had come forth from the hands of
God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded… final
special care of his creator, but I was wretched, helpless and
alone. Many times I considered Satan as a fitter emblem of my
condition. (Shelley 68).
Hollywood film makers and director later employed these same elements to
reach the masses, and film became the medium. Therefore, we the audience
fill the theaters in search of excitement.