Compare And Contrast Paper

2182 words - 9 pages

Compare and Contrast Paper

Isabella Pignatello

When considering the qualities that contribute to positive relationships, you could come up with many virtues that would fit the bill. Care, honor, love trust, honesty, and selflessness are all important components of finding a balance, where it is possible, to live in peaceful coexistence with one another. However, respect is the most underappreciated virtue. Respect sits back patiently and waits to be recognized. Humanity as a whole overlooks the importance of respect in enabling individuals to live together harmoniously. Homer clearly illustrates the way people interact respectfully with each other and the world around them in his classical poem describing Achilles shield, whereas W.H. Auden's World War Two era poem on the same subject clearly conveys a lack of respect. The way in which this respectful environment is sustained in Homer's world, or lacking in Auden's world, is evident in the way people work, in the atmosphere in which the two images are set, and even in the tangible nature and surroundings. In Homer's world people work with commitment, satisfaction, and a sense of community, whereas Auden illustrates a world where labor is forced and no sense of accomplishment is fulfilled. In Homer's depiction, the atmosphere in which the scene is set is very upbeat, filled with music and gusto, Auden on the other hand shows an atmosphere full of suffering, destitution and isolation. Nature in Homer's world embodies fertility, abundance and diversity, whereas Auden's rendition shows barrenness, impurity and artificiality.

A common overarching theme in these two pieces of literature is nature and the natural surroundings that make up the settings. In Homer's piece, several instances represent the idea of fertility. The quote; "He made on it a great vineyard heavy with clusters…" (H561) is one good example where Homer explains a thriving vineyard laden with fruit. This common display of fertility stems from a sense of respect and appreciation the people have for the earth. In Auden's world, the idea of barrenness is a prevailing theme. "A plain without a feature, bare and brown…" (A9) is the way Auden characterizes some of the scenery on the shield. Related to and fertility and barrenness is abundance and scarcity. Homer's piece indicates abundance with men harvesting in fields while children gather crops and the women scatter an abundance of white barley for the men to eat. Auden's poem displays scarcity with "No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood…" (A10) and the image of a neglected field. Another polarity that can be drawn between the two representations of Achilles' shield is Nature versus Artificiality. In Homer's version Hephaestus creates the earth, sky, sea, sun, moon...

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