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Homer’s “Illiad” History Explicatory Essay


Homer’s composition style

Various works of art attribute to legends and motivation of antiquity. Homer was one such scholar whose art attracted the milieu and other people world over. His poems and literature books posed as a great competition around the 7th to 9th centuries as he inscribed most of them in Greek.

A better part of the world understood this language during this period and thus they gained interest in the literary compositions of Homer including Iliad and Odyssey (Foley, pg.15). Being a classical writer he received inspiration from human culture and many anthropological facets of the society during the very moment in the history of the universe.

At the same time, civilization did not deter replication of material as much of his speeches and poems found way into different societies because of economic and social activities during the medieval epoch. This caused a rise in the demand for such pieces of art and therefore, necessitated the incorporation of western languages into his literature. Among the first poems to go through the transition was Iliad. The stories in this collection either indicate a tragedy or victory.

As such, the Little Iliad, Theban and Oedipus among others represent part of the very composition. Homer constantly used the hardest Greek version to compile his literary works (Kawashima, pg. 169). He also incorporated multiple dialects to make the poems and stories more interesting.

This also increased the readership because people found it easier to relate with other parlances formed from their languages. As aforementioned, this style portrayed independence from other literature and this paper concentrates on the input of Homer’s style in the production of Iliad. To date, Iliad commands a greater percentage of legendary editions since it is an approach that changes form with the inception of any change including technology.

Iliad stands out from other poems written by the very author. He got insight to give the anthology this title because he was in a bid to give a story about Troy otherwise referred to as Ilion. It is a very long epic narrating on deities, conquerors and heroin developments. In creating realism and entertainment at the same time, Homer, integrated comedy into Iliad and this resulted in a consistent flow of ideas thus building a strong plot for the entire poem.

The composition style of Iliad is of great significance to this treatise because it unveils the style, formulae, plot and general synchronization of activities that made this poem a success (Homer & Homer, pg.46). In so doing, the paper will focus on an excerpt from the same compilation and relate it to the entire work while clearly outlining the facets mentioned before.

First passage from Homer’s Iliad, and its relationship to the poem as a whole (in Hammond’s translation)

Each section of the entire poem presents an opportunity for prose analysis. For that reason, the characters and their traits depict the styles and themes as expressed in the entire text. The review will take the form of an in depth analysis of part one of the whole poem before that, most imperatively, presents the plot of the poem including shading light into the flow.

The war between the Trojans and Greeks (Fenik, pg. 19) was stimulated by ideological differences that incorporated the struggle for power and the ability to retain attractive goddesses by the stronger team. A case of a stolen wife also resulted in the war. For two decades, Menelaus governed a major part of Greece since he ruled Sparta. On the other hand, Alexandros was the Trojan Prince of Paris. Paris solely depended on spiritual help from Aphrodite who Alexandros preferred over two other goddesses.

They were Athene and Hera. Additionally, the case of the stolen wife traces its way to the Aphrodite. The war imposed the act to Aphrodite; to that effect the stealing of Helen was more of their responsibility than that of any other party. A third character appears to take interest in this part when he seeks to rescue Helen from the traps of the enemy.

He is Agamemnon, Menelaos’s brother. He did this because he was bestowed as a powerful king and thus he sought to exercise his authority over the warring nations. In so doing, he assembled Greek hordes in a bid to accomplish the mission. At this point the audience gets to meet the hero in the poem. Other players come in as peripheral but Homer presents Achilles as the lead character in the entire poem. Every action revolves around him. He is mentioned constantly from the poem’s inception to its ending.

He lives fifty four days of warring and exciting incidents that make it almost impossible to believe that this is actually the first decade of the conflict. The first part of the poem praises the bravery of Achilles. His anger mainly an advantage to the Greek and a disadvantage to the Trojans will see him defeat the enemies in the above described war (Silk, pg. 22). Probably Achilles detested the fact that the Trojans demanded ransom in an effort to release Helen from captivity.

Achilles is strong and everyone including the priest fears confronting him. He talks to an old man to make a prayer to the god of the silver bow in attempts to predict the outcome of the war. The poem contains passages that talk about heroes, heroines, gods and goddesses. Tragedy, comedy and victory share an equal amount of airtime in the poem as a whole. As such, this passage relates to the entire text in a significant manner.

It talks of the hero Achilles and a fair share of tragedies and his bravery in a bid to challenge the gods. He wants to prove that the Trojan gods do not stand a chance while assisting the troop in the war. He shows ambitions in character just like other heroes of the very poem including Alexandros of Paris. The goddesses presented in this passage also believe in their power to transform humanity in a good or bad way depending on the character they support. The excerpt hence truly depicts the real occurrences of the entire text as written by Homer.

The relevance of the passage to its book and the poem overall

The collected pieces of art reflect on the entire book, Iliad. This is because it introduces the war and the characters from a wider realm than the other passages. In this part, that the audience meets Achilles and gets to understand the reasons as to why he took part in the war. It slightly shades light into the conclusion of the very war.

Thirdly and most important of all it highlights the book as a legendary tale flexible for replication because many versions already existing including Hammond’s translation on which this assignment bases most of its facts. Thus without this part of the book as highlighted in the poem, there can never be a transition from the introduction to the second passage. This is since it highly influences the story flow, style and thematic relation.

Factors that make the passage significant

The first encounter with the passage makes it a little hard to understand. However, it forms a smooth flow as one gets to understand the language. The most admirable part of the passage introduces Achilles as the son of Peleus. The writer depicts him as an overly powerful character that uses the strength to save humanity. A mixture of thrill, emotions and need for thematic analysis completes this excerpt. The Achaeans fully depend on Achilles ability to save them from the tragedy.

The language and style in use for this passage completely overwhelms. Homer mentions of many heroes who later became preys to vultures and dogs but he uses Achilles as a different case. Achilles corresponds to an intelligent and strong fighter who stops at nothing to ensure victory for his country. The explicit language accompanied by recurring phrases makes the passage memorable. General the language, flow and style makes the extract stand out from the rest.

Features which suggest oral composition, how formulae are used meaningfully and reason for incorporation

The composer formulates features and themes based on a close relation of characters and their traits. For instance, as aforementioned, Achilles is a character whose anger pushes him to advocate for his society. The enemies fear him based on this and his stature. The description of his anger and his ability to save the populace is ironical.

Nature does not balance the two under clear circumstances. The second phase of irony comes into play when Helen needs to be rescued whilst Achilles her supposed savior had initially debased the priest and had also differed with the king. As such the mission was bound to be impossible but he put on a strong front to fulfill his purpose.

Secondly, through the use of prediction Homer informs the viewers of the later occurrences of the next fifty four days by depicting the character traits of Achilles as the winning party. The most dominant of all oral compositions is the use of imagery in which the writer describes various situations in a way that the audience can actually picture the turn of events. In this passage, he describes how Achilles commanded the old man to go by the sea to pray to the gods for victory.

A picture of the scenery comes into play. This section clearly stipulates a poetic touch since it works well with rhymes especially in the naming for instance Achilles and Achaeans (Fenik, pg. 92). Generally, formulae in this context do not refer to arithmetic but rather word structure according to the antiquity period.

Homer for instance used repetition to stress on facts and to make the phrases stick in the reader’s mind. Besides this, they make effective the classical language and stress on Greek as an imperative part of world history. This was the essence of Homer’s poems.

Occurrence of the features elsewhere in the book

Irony exists in almost all parts of the play and especially when the Trojan army depends fully on the help of Aphrodite to win a battle that is not necessarily spiritually motivated. However, when the play transcends, the actions of Achilles and Hektor destroy them personally. This displays irony. Additionally, the two characters help in the identification of imagery when they battle in Troy. Repetition of the two characters constantly reminds the viewers of the introduction, conflict, climax, transition and conclusion.

Thematic resonances and poet’s creativity

Themes aid in identifying the composer’s intent during the entire text writing. In Iliad, the first passage mainly talks of the hero (Homer & Homer, pg.46). Heroism is thus a theme that dominates the poem as a whole and it is countered by tragedy. Being an epic tale involving two warring nations, one side must always win while the other loses. Victory and heroism as stipulated by Hektor and Achilles (Foley, pg.223) embody the turn of events in the text.

The lead character might probably suffer a consequence as a result of his ignorance and non-calculated measures. This might be stimulated by disregard for competition. Achilles depicts a very strong individual whose personality scares even those he shares close relations with.

It was creative of Homer to come up with such a setting and characters that correspond to the set environment. The use of language and correlating styles shows Homer’s prowess in the command of the Greek language. He creates flexibility which in essence refers to the capability of such works being replicated into other languages that different people can understand.

Works Cited

Fenik, Bernard. Homer and the Nibelungenlied: Comparative Studies in Epic Style. Cambridge, Mass: Published for Oberlin College by Harvard University Press, 1986. Print.

Foley, John M. Homer’s Traditional Art. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999. Print.

Homer, & Homer. The Iliad ; And, the Odyssey. Radford, VA: Wilder Publications, 2007. Print.

Kawashima, Robert S. Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode. Bloomington, IN [u.a.: Indiana University Press, 2004. Print.

Silk, M S. Homer, the Iliad. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Internet resource.

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