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A Comparative Study of The Illiad and The Odyssey in Genre, Language, Characterization, Themes and Structure - Essay Example

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The Iliad and The Odyssey are two classical epic poems.When one investigates the epic poetry genre,Homer’s language and similes, characterization of the protagonists, the prevailing themes and structure of the poem, one ultimately discovers a unity between poems…
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A Comparative Study of The Illiad and The Odyssey in Genre, Language, Characterization, Themes and Structure
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Download file to see previous pages The Iliad features the demi-god Achilles who goes out to war fighting against Troy. Odysseus also participates in the Trojan War. These warrior heroes manifest great strength and courage in war. They are largely undefeated and strive to accomplish their personal and national objectives. The epic poem pays homage to the Greco-Roman age when men and gods collaborate in waging warfare. One other particular trait in epic poems is the static nature of characters. Without character development, one sees the characters continue in their stubborn ways until destiny catches up with them. Epic poetry is the genre of both Homer’s The Odyssey and The Iliad. Epic poetry is a long discourse discussing the exploits of a famed warrior in Greco-Roman times. The poem dramatizes and poeticizes the narrative. It is a literary classic which forms part of oral tradition. The storyteller usually adds music to the poem to improve memorization. The heroes of epic poetry desire glory by their fightings and in the end procure it. They usually encounter capricious gods and goddesses who either work in their favor or disfavor. The main themes are usually about glorified warfare and an immortalized name for the hero; as a result the content primarily fixates on attaining to sublime and lofty goals. With these lofty ends in mind, the language is equally lofty, complex and codified. Odysseus is the protagonist of The Odyssey who overcomes all of his enemies who try to kill and lure him away from his home. He stands as a man who has an immense intellect and despite his leadership, is kind and sympathetic toward his men who accompany him on his mission. Odysseus has extraordinary strength and although he is not a god, he is able to penetrate the wiles of the gods. Odysseus is a faithful character because he does not neglect his family and cherishes his shipmates and fellow brothers-in-arms. His cunning, eloquence, disarming personality and self-knowledge help him evade the entrapments of his enemies. One can observe the perfectibility of Odysseus when at the beginning of the journey, he does not revere and respect the will of the gods as he should. As a consequence Odysseus undergoes man tragedies before he can realize that he cannot flout the gods and remain unscathed. Odysseus also on the onset has hubris which makes him think that he is invincible especially after coming away from the Trojan War with such honor and distinction. However, after many catastrophic events, he emerges more level-headed and aware of his own shortcomings and vulnerabilities. He is placed within the power and caprice of the gods such as Kalypso, Persepone and others and he must get rid of his hubris. Achilles is unlike Odysseus in several ways. Achilles stands out as a proud, overbearing, sometimes patriotic and ambitious protagonist of The Iliad. Achilles is bestowed with supernatural qualities because he descends from a nymph Thetis and Peleus, a god-king. Ironically in The Iliad, the Achilles heel of Achilles is not his vulnerable heel – it is his pride or hubris. While Odysseus would not dream of forsaking his loyal men or turn his back against his country, Achilles does without any remorse. He deliberately chooses to weaken his own kingdom as a means of retaliation against his king, exempting himself from war. He is not half as noble as Odysseus and is governed by passion than on careful scrutiny and judgment. The themes of The Odyssey focus on the home, hospitality, glorified warfare, the power of the gods, travelling/wandering, fidelity, disguise, storytelling and women as seductress. These themes are very pertinent to the play since they recount mainly ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Nice paper! Used it to complete an assignment for a literature course. It was easy as ABC, for the first time in my life.

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