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Iliad Essay

1251 words - 5 pages

The Iliad and The Odyssey are two epic poems with both similar and different styles to the structure of the poems, as well as each poem having the same gods incorporated into the stories intervening with the day to day lives of the mortals.
Greek poetry before Homer was all composed orally; therefore it is assumed that Homer’s works are the first written works of art (Joachim Latacz, page 15). Scholars who have spent extensive time researching the origin of Homer’s work cannot verify a specific time the Iliad and the Odyssey were written (Latacz, 24). Many who have tried, usually run into a dead end, but it seems most have came to the conclusion that the poems were produced in the late eighteenth century (Latacz , 59).
There are several similarities in the two stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey. The two stories are classic, epic poems written by the legendary poet Homer. Achilles and Odysseus, the main antagonists of the Iliad and the Odyssey, are both Greek warriors and are both represented in each of the poems in some fashion. Odysseus is shown in the Iliad all throughout as one of the Greek forces most cunning warriors (Coleman-Norton, JStor). Although he is shown throughout the Iliad, his first appearance is the most similar to the Odysseus shown in the Odyssey when he is the one picked to captain the ship that is returning Chryseis to her father ( The Iliad, lines 440-447). Achilles character is shown in book eleven of the Odyssey when Odysseus speaks with his spirit for a brief moment (The Odyssey, 585-629). The two stories also include a form of kidnapping within. In the Iliad it is shown right away with the taking of Chryseis and Briseis by Agamemnon and Achilles as war prizes (The Iliad, 182-185). The Odyssey shows the kidnapping during the fifth book when the reader learns that Odysseus is being held on Calypso’s island by her love for him (The Odyssey, 125-130). There are two obvious structure similarities in each of the stories. The first structure similarity is that Homer made each of the poems twenty-four books long. The second similarity is that each story begins with a short prologue.
Prevalent in each poem is the presence of gods. In both The Iliad and The Odyssey, gods are a fixture within the stories and are shown congregating on Mount Olympus or in some way interacting with the mortals. The gods are also showing favoritism and hatred in each the poems. Favoritism by the gods is shown quite often in the Iliad. For example, in book two Zeus carries out Thetis’s wish to grant Achilles prayer to her. Zeus helps the Trojans in the battle by coming to Agamemnon in a dream during book two and tricking him into attacking the city of Troy’s walls in a full on attack (The Iliad, 1-15). An example of pure hatred comes throughout the poem from Athena who is consistently helping the Achaean forces in battle. In The Odyssey favoritism is less noticeable throughout. Most all the gods during the poem want to see Odysseus return to...

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