Epic Similes In The Odyssey

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In this passage from The Odyssey, Homer uses an epic simile comparing Odysseus’ crew to calves and Odysseus to a cow and a second simile comparing Odysseus to Ithaca in order to portray the sense of reliance and loyalty the men have for their leader. In the book, Odysseus has just returned from Circe’s palace where some of the crew had disappeared. Since the men chosen to venture into Circe’s home did not return, the rest of the crew thought Odysseus would also not make it back to the ship. When Homer writes that the men are, “bucking out of their pens, lowing nonstop, jostling, rushing round their mothers (455-456),” he conveys the men’s desparation to get to Odysseus. The phrase, “bucking out of their pens (455),” refers to the fact that Odysseus’ crew is trapped and helpless without him. Only Odysseus…show more content…
If he had been turned to swine by Circe or worse, the men would be lost without someone to direct them, like calves without their mothers. Later in the passage, Homer uses another simile where the men exclaim, “You’re back my king! How thrilled we are―as if we’d reached our country, Ithaca, at last!” (463-464). In this moment, the crew address Odysseus as “king” to express their loyalty to him. Throughout the journey, they have not formally addressed Odysseus as his official title and in doing so, they show respect and admiration to Odysseus who pulled off yet another feat. Although Odysseus had made rash decisions that brought a fate of suffering upon these men, they praise him, suggesting that they have forgiven him―a sign of trust. Later when the men compare Odysseus to their return to Ithaca, they express their deep devotion for him. Odysseus is the famous face of Ithaca, their king, the closest thing they have of home. The thrill the crew feel when they see Odysseus is of renewed hope of sailing home. These two similes both portray Odysseus as a leader, someone who the men rely on and are loyal
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