Storytelling in Homer’s The Odyssey and Virgil’s The Aeneid Essay

September 23, 2017 Construction

Storytelling was really indispensable to the history of adult male. For many old ages. storytelling was the important agencies which enabled adult male to enter history. In the absence of written records. unwritten tradition became necessary in footings of documenting the experiences of adult male. Through the unwritten tradition. the history of adult male was passed on from one coevals to another. While that sort of storytelling may uncover a different or overdone version of what really transpired. the alterations made do non sabotage the importance of the narrative.

Two texts which are portion of the unwritten tradition are “The Odyssey” by Homer and “The Aeneid” by Virgil. The narratives conveyed in both heroic poems would non hold reached the present coevals if it was non for the act of storytelling. Although both Homer and Virgil turn out to be noteworthy narrators. they do non state their narratives the same manner. As proven in their heroic poems “The Odyssey” and “The Aeneid. ” Homer and Virgil exhibit similarities and differences in their storytelling. Homer and Virgil are similar in their storytelling in footings of construction.

Their first similarity lies in the signifier of the dactylic hexameter ( Farrell ) . Poems which are from Greek and Latin origin follow a specific rhythmic form. Epic poems such as Homer’s “The Odyssey” purely follow the strategy of the dactylic hexameter. In this rhyme strategy. heroic poems are required to hold poetries with lines which consist of 18 syllables. In this form. the first syllable for every three syllables is accented. However. the text is frequently presented in the signifier of prose. Homer’s Grecian heroic poems preceded Virgil’s “The Aeneid. ” so the latter poet followed the former’s format in footings of heroic poem poesy ( Farrell ) .

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Hence. the storytelling of both Homer and Virgil in their several heroic poems is similar due to the rhythmic strategy followed to convey their narratives. The 2nd similarity between Homer and Virgil in footings of construction is apparent in the manner they begin their storytelling. First. it must be noted that both poets start their heroic poem in medias RESs. This means that the secret plan of both heroic poems start midway through the whole narrative. Homer and Virgil chose to get down their storytelling in the center ; their history of the events which occur prior to the beginning is told either through flashbacks or the narrative of a specific character ( Green fourteen ) .

The Odyssey” is basically the narrative about a Grecian hero named Odysseus and the hard journey back to Ithaca after the prostration of Troy. Homer does non get down his narrative instantly after the Trojan War ; alternatively. he starts his storytelling a decennary after the conflict in Troy. When the heroic poem begins. Odysseus is situated in the island of Ogygia. where the goddess Calypso has held him confined due to her love for him. It is non until Book XI of the heroic poem that the readers would larn what truly happened after the autumn of Troy. when Odysseus recounts the events for Phaeacians.

Meanwhile. “The Aeneid” is the narrative of the Trojan named Aeneas who sails to Italy from Troy because he is destined to go the ascendant of the Romans. He and other Dardans are forced to fly Troy after the onslaught of the Greeks. Virgil does non get down the narrative after the autumn of Troy ; Aeneas is already at sea when the heroic poem verse form begins ( Green xiv ) . It would be subsequently on in the narrative when Aeneas narrates in a feast what occurred in the besieging of the metropolis. Therefore. Homer and Virgil are similar in their mode of storytelling because they start their heroic poems in medias RESs.

Another noteworthy similarity between Homer and Virgil as narrators is their supplication to the Muse. Both Homer and Virgil open their verse forms through an supplication. In “The Odyssey. ” Homer writes: “Tell me. O Muse. of that clever hero who traveled far and broad after he sacked the celebrated town of Troy. ” He ends the first paragraph with this sentence: “Tell me. excessively. about all these things. O girl of Jove. from whatsoever beginning you may cognize them” ( Homer ) . As proven by the aforesaid statements. Homer clearly finds it necessary to get down his storytelling by naming on the Muse.

Virgil besides exhibits Homer’s mode of narrative by raising the Muse in Book I of “The Aeneid. ” Virgil writes: “O Muse! the causes and the offenses relate ; / What goddess was provok’d. and whence her hate” ( I. 11-12 ) . However. it is necessary to indicate out that a little difference between the poets’ supplications. While Homer mentions the Muse on the first line of the heroic poem. it is merely in the 11th line wherein Virgil invokes the Muse. Nonetheless. the mere reference of the Muse in the first books of their heroic poems reveals that the poets found the supplication as a necessary portion of their storytelling.

Indeed. Homer and Virgil are similar in their storytelling as they both invoke the Muse in the beginning of their heroic poems. Besides. Homer and Virgil portion another similarity in storytelling because of their chosen capable affair. Each poet tells a narrative which involves the metropolis of Troy and its eventual death. In both ‘The Odyssey” and “The Aeneid. ” Troy plays a important function in the whole narration ( Risden 19 ) . Specifically. it is the autumn of the metropolis which serves as the get downing point of the heroic poem.

The escapades of Odysseus officially begin after the Trojan licking ; following the triumph of the Greeks. he and his companions have to get the better of obstructions for 10 old ages before the hero could safely travel back place. Meanwhile. the narrative of Aeneas starts when the metropolis of Troy is under onslaught. It is non until he leaves the fallen metropolis that he is able to ship on a trip to Italy. The autumn of Troy is genuinely indispensable in both heroic poems. and the poets emphasize that fact through the manner they tell their several narratives. Hence. Homer and Virgil show another similarity in their storytelling through their focal point on the autumn of Troy ( Risden 19 ) .

Coincidentally. it is besides the narrative of Troy which marks the first difference between the storytelling of Homer and Virgil. Both narrators reveal different positions in “The Odyssey” and “The Aeneid. ” On one manus. Homer recounts the events of Troy and the Trojan War from the position of the Greeks ( Risden 19 ) . Since Homer is known for the Grecian heroic poems. it is merely natural that his storytelling would prefer the position of the Greeks. In “The Odyssey. ” there are three histories of the conflict of Troy as told from a pro-Greek point of position.

The first history is found in Book IV. where Menelaus tells both Helen and Telemachus about Odysseus and their experience when they were inside the wooden Equus caballus. Menelaus describes Odysseus as such: “What bravery he displayed within the wooden Equus caballus. wherein all the bravest of the Argives were lying in delay to convey decease and devastation upon the Trojans” ( Homer ) . The 2nd history is in Book VIII. wherein the blind poet named Demodocus sings about the Trojan Equus caballus ; the vocal allows Odysseus to reminisce about the war. doing him call in the procedure.

The last history can be found in Book XI ; in this book. it is Odysseus himself who narrates his narrative to the Phaeacians ( Homer ) . In the context of the verse form. Homer narrates the narrative of Troy targeted at a Grecian audience. for it was the experiences of the Greeks which are indicated in his history. On the other manus. the storytelling of Virgil presents the position of the Trojans ( Risden 19 ) . In “The Aeneid. ” Virgil retells the narrative of Troy from the point of position of Aeneas. a Trojan. This is why the narrative of the heroic poem offers a pro-Trojan. instead than a pro-Greek. sentiment.

In Book I of “The Aeneid. ” Aeneas goes into Juno’s freshly built temple concealed in Venus’ cloud ; upon seeing the series of images of the Trojan War on the alleviation inside the temple. he weeps as he recalls the death of his metropolis ( I. 464-94 ) . This incident is similar to the reaction of Odysseus to the vocal of Demodocus. It is during this clip when Dido sees Aeneas in heartache. and as a consequence. she welcomes him into her tribunal. It is in Book II where Aeneas narrates to the Carthaginians the devastation of the Troy.

If Odysseus and Menelaus gave the Grecian history of the autumn of Troy in “The Odyssey. ” it was Aeneas who gave the Trojan side of the city’s autumn in “The Aeneid. ” Therefore. a major difference between the storytelling of Homer and Virgil is their chosen position in their history of the autumn of Troy. Another noteworthy difference between the storytelling of Homer and Virgil lies in the signifier of their narrative. While both poets tell a similar narrative of a hero who embarks on a drawn-out and unsafe journey. they convey the narrative in two different ways. It must be noted that there is a ground why “The Odyssey” is longer than “The Aeneid. ”

In the tradition of Grecian heroic poems. narrators would repetitively state the narrative for a long period of clip before they were written down in records ( Risden 20 ) . The mode of frequent reciting would go apparent in the written version. as there would be the repeat of words and images within the individual text. This repeat is simply a contemplation of the traditional mode of storytelling. Homer was a portion of the unwritten tradition ; in fact. it was said that during his clip. heroic poems were normally sung alternatively of spoken ( Farrell ) . In contrast. heroic poems during Virgil’s clip were known to be spoken.

This is the ground why the secret plan was more determined. Virgil was non a portion of the ancient Grecian unwritten tradition. so his work was no longer characterized by repeat. Hence. the storytelling of Virgil is more concise than the storytelling of Homer. Homer and Virgil are two noteworthy names in the kingdom of heroic poesy. Both are singular figures in the name of antique literature due to heroic poems such as ‘The Odyssey” and “The Aeneid” severally. Homer and Virgil even portion certain similarities in footings of their storytelling. Most of their similarities lie on the construction of their heroic poems.

Both “The Odyssey” and “The Aeneid” are in the signifier of the dactylic hexameter ; they besides begin in medias RESs with an supplication to the Muse. In add-on. the heroic poems of Homer and Virgil speak about the autumn of Troy. However. there are besides differences between the storytelling of the two heroic poets. Homer’s “The Odyssey” is narrated from the position of the Greeks while Virgil’s “The Aeneid” is from the Trojan point of position. Last. their storytelling is different due to the traditional mode of Homer and the spoken method of Virgil. Indeed. Homer and Virgil are two heroic poets who are both talented and diverse in their storytelling.


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