Passion of the Odyssey: A formal expository essay about the personification, epithets, and similies within Homer's "Odyssey"

Essay by mojeHigh School, 11th gradeA+, June 2006

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Passion, that is the word that comes to mind when thinking of the Odyssey. passionate fighting, passionate conviction in Odysseus' life, Odysseus' fervent passion to return to his family and kingdom, Telemachus' passion to kill the suitors, even Circe and Calypso's erotic passion for Odysseus are entwined within this story set in ancient Greece. However, Homer uses many other words and ways to depict his story. Epic similes colorfully illustrate parts of the Odyssey. Personification poetically describes characters. Epithets, too, are a popular choice of Homer. These three components: personification, epithets, and similes, are what give the story its passion

A simile is a figure of speech in which two unlike things or concepts are shown to be similar using the words "like" or "as" to compare. Likewise, an epic simile, or Homeric simile, does just that; but extends a description with more details for poetic purposes. Like the way a master chef spices up his soup with herbs, Homer uses epic similes to spice up "The Odyssey".

In the scene when the Cyclops devours Odysseus' men Homer opts for similes with animals.

"...but in one stride he clutched at my two companions

and caught in his two hands like squirming puppies

to beat their brains out, spattering on the floor.

Then he dismembered them and made them his meal,

gaping and crunching like a mountain lion-

everything: innards, flesh, and marrow bones."

(Part I, lines 189-194)

This gruesomely disturbing passage mentions two similes, the puppies and the lion. The frantically squirming puppies signify the desperate struggle for survival. The gaping mountain lion represents the Cyclops's brutish instincts, and unrefined and appalling actions. These two epic similes presented brute strength overwhelmed by scattered panic. Although disturbing and graphic, this passage is one of the best examples of captivating epic...