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The Tale of Heike and The Iliad - Research Paper Example

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The Tale of Heike and The Iliad are some of the ancient epic stories of their respective cultures, which continue to be popular up to now, because of their characters and themes that modern society can relate to. This essay compares these stories and finds similarities and differences in their literary elements…
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The Tale of Heike and The Iliad
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Download file to see previous pages Homer wrote The Iliad. Homer is called the “father of all poetry,” and The Iliad, as a “masterpiece for all time” (Weigel 3). Tradition says that Homer was a Greek of Asia Minor (Weigel 3). Herodotus thinks that Homer lived in the eighth century BCE, which could be right, because of the existence of modern scholarship and archeology during this time (Weigel 3). Homer combined legends about the siege of Troy and familiar oral stories about the Greeks to write The Iliad. Homer himself could not have transcribed the two other epics that people attribute to him, “but it is probable that he gave the poems their present shape” (Weigel 3). Heike and The Iliad are orally presented, instead of being read. Heike is sung for oral performance, and this is similar to The Iliad which is also orally performed. Unlike The Iliad, Heike has significant Buddhist influence, with Buddhist scripture pervading its prose. At the same time, Heike is sung as part of religious chanting, which makes it a “different form of oral composition than extemporaneous poetic composition”(Tosa 6). Heike, furthermore, is not the same epic as The Iliad, because it also has Japanese song rhythm. The Iliad is also religious in a sense, because it affirms the power of the gods over people. It is not a poetic prose like Heike. The gods are greatly humanized in this epic, because they take human shapes and passions. They have super powers, but they are also human-like, because they eat, fornicate, lie, cheat, change their minds, and protect their favorites (Weigel 4). Their system is both loose and structured like the humans, since they also oppose each other and Zeus (Weigel 4). Heike and The Iliad have similar plots. Both of them are about wars and changing political orders. Heike is the...
The Tale of Heike and The Iliad are both considered as military tales too, where military strategies are discussed in vivid details, enriched further by the textured personalities of their heroes and their struggles. These epics have differences in their literature structure, but they are similar because they are both epics in their respective nations; in addition, they are comparable in their war and royalty settings, plot that revolves around great wars, social hierarchies, transitions of power, and characters that struggle with the themes of life and death and loyalty to the gods and human rulers.
The Tale of Heike and The Iliad are national epics of their cultures and nations. Heike is an epic of the Japanese culture, because like The Iliad, it is a quasi-historical tale of a real war between prominent groups/families. Heike is “the most important source for Nô and Kabuki drama,” which is similar to the Homeric cycle that Greek tragedies often used. The Iliad is considered a great Western epic, particularly of Hellenic culture, and the Greeks treat it as a national epic with paramount importance to their culture. As epics, these stories have been translated many times as novels and motion pictures too.
These epics remark on similar cultures that are hierarchical and war-immersed. They have strong rulers, but who also have human flaws. They are noble, nevertheless, despite their weaknesses, because they submit to their fates, while continuing their struggles. The Tale of Heike and The Iliad also describe the transition from one power to another. They stress that power is fleeting. Moreover, they assert that the gods rule over the people. Human fate is not based on human will alone, but also subjected to what the gods want for humanity. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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