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Given the partial nature of the evidence for early Greek narrative, the definition of the simileme is inexact, but the attempt is supported by the impressive regularity with which discrete elements appear in separate simile families. Because these elements are not necessarily repeated in the same phrasing, it is not productive to use the type of close formulaic analysis developed by Milman Parry.
In association with Achilles it gains added force from his famous epithet "swift-footed" in its various formulations 16 and is probably used pointedly on these three occasions in book 22 to enhance the threat to Hector. There is, however, one other appearance of this formula, Iliad 8. Here the phrase has been deprived of all association with Achilles by being placed within the simile world, used to describe a dog, and applied to Hector.
As language develops through usage, words gain varied connotations, all of which are heard each time the word is used even though certain of these connotations will be immediately suppressed as irrelevant to the context. Foley calls such a collection of potential meanings "metonymic pathways. Given the multivalent meanings that can be assumed for most words and phrases in the Homeric poems, the poet must limit these meanings to those he deems important. He has three means of accomplishing such limitation:.
Each of these methods allows the poet to refine his meaning by working within the traditional diction. The four type scenes of arming in the Iliad provide good illustrations of all these methods. In the scene describing the arming of Paris 3. However, more specific and targeted omissions are possible. Many elements are added to the arming of Agamemnon, including the richly inlaid breastplate of Cinyras, the thick and elaborately decorated shield, the crested helmet, and the gleaming spears that excite the thunder of Athena and Hera The arming of Achilles illustrates the third method, the combination of various alternative elements to accompany the best of the Achaeans These same methods are used in designing the individual similes.
Such gatherings of customary elements were so present in the folk memory that the poet could produce a specific simile to suit his narrative with confidence that the audience would appreciate the adaptations he had made. To find the fundamental unity beneath the diversity presented by a series of similes requires, as a first step, the identification of topics used repeatedly and with sufficient frequency to be regarded as customary simile subjects.
Most critics agree that there are simile families centered on the topics of lions and boars, fire, wind, trees, and gods. A numerical test as the sole criterion is inadequate because the mere counting of surviving examples within highly selective original evidence will not produce compelling conclusions.
There were undoubtedly other equally traditional simile subjects that are unrecognizable because they occurred only once in the two surviving epics. A more adequate method rests on the awareness that the poet chose one or two simile families frequently at specific narrative junctures; thus a major determining factor in the association of a simile family with a specific context is the subject. The third criterion in identifying families is the most stringent and enlightening of all: the use of common motifs for each simile in the family.
The chart shows that the other thirteen tree similes can be analyzed into similar categories. Three, 4. Of course, each simile has a few specific details that are not repeated, thus cannot be so categorized, and their status must remain indeterminate.
Of course, there is a fair amount of flexibility in the basic simileme for adding or deleting elements. Not only can the poet choose freely what items to include, but the choice of one specific item can limit or preclude the use of other variants: if the wind uproots a tree, then no purpose need be given for felling the tree, nor is any specific tool identified.
As a result, motifs are assigned to separate columns on the chart when they seem to represent independent choices: the tree may be felled by means of a tool with or without the specific mention of a human agent or his purpose It is clear that both the poet and his audience share the inheritance from the tradition.
In analyzing Homeric composition scholars have compellingly supported a generative process dependent on mental constructs. Nagler has applied a model based in Gestalt psychology that explains how formulaic and typological scenes express general conceptions. But a Gestalt or"mental template" has associations with innate knowledge shared by all audience members, while the simileme is solely man-made and thus in all cases can be changed and developed to suit narrative needs. In similes the physical scenes e.
Thus while many features of simile composition are made understandable by parallels to both Gestalt structures and frame semantics, neither is a precise guide, fully adequate to define the Homeric simile as the product of customary placement and repeated topics, all expressed in a traditional diction.
In addition, there is a much more consciously creative, even possibly individualistic, potential to the form underlying the simile. The simile takes its being from the surrounding passage; in origin the mental construct underlying. For these reasons I have chosen the term "simileme" to represent the basic objects and actions that comprise each traditional simile family; this form is carried in the folk memory as an inheritance from previous generations of practicing poets but probably is impossible to express fully in any single example.
Throughout decades of use the simileme remained an entity that was constantly developed by its redeployment in familiar contexts. The most important feature of the simileme is its flexibility; as similes are the product of human imagination, a wide variety of individual similes can be created by recombination, deletion, or addition of customary and familiar elements—and also, undoubtedly, at moments of creative innovation or discovery.
Nagler has well described the special quality of Homeric expression: "All is traditional on the generative level, all original on the level of performance. Several general points should be made about the simileme using the chart constructed from the tree similes. First, the simileme is not a simple picture but a flexible and functional collection of variables that can be—and generally must be—adapted to a variety of situations. To deal with similemes one must understand the choice or rejection of variants.
Nimis views a simile as an encoded passage that produces meaning. At the same time the mind of the poet contains a preexistent archetype that strongly influences the individual similes in the text. The horse simile, for example, has a consistent unwarlike tone that makes the whole suitable only for certain narratives. The audience of each passage will realize that there is a basic poetic unit of a certain length and tone that has a sufficiently fixed nature to withstand attempts to introduce variants.
This more fixed and lasting simile sketch is parallel to the basic type scene or even the shorter formulaic expressions that can be shifted within the line or split to accommodate new needs. The force preserving this archetypal simile is the conservatism of the oral tradition itself. The poet is not compelled to use one and only one form of a type scene or to keep the formula as a fixed unit in its position in the line, but the texts show a strong tendency to reuse the same formula unless there is a reason to change.
It seems clear that at certain junctures of the narrative the use of the simile was a suggestion from the tradition which the poet could either accept, reject, or modify; similarly, at certain junctures the poet knew from experience that certain topics he had used successfully before were particularly apt. These suggestions led the poet to reuse simile subjects and phrasing—even to repeat certain long similes six times word for word. Second, each simileme normally occurs to the poet in a limited number of narrative contexts.
If the warrior stays fixed and unmoving, so does the tree; if the warrior falls, the tree falls. Even Achilles is proleptically described by tree similes when his mother realizes that his death is near; Telemachus receives. Third, neither the simileme nor its components are necessarily attached to repeated phrases; no one of the motifs listed on the chart is expressed through a limited set of formulae.
There are four similes centered on the oak tree, all extended. In two However, in the other two passages The opening line of this repeated simile reveals alternative species of trees: "He fell as when an oak falls, or a poplar, or a tall pine. Further, at 4. The same is true for the words for leaves and shoots in the longer similes at 4. Likewise, there is little repetition of formulae in the element of the craftsmen, their cutting tools, their act of cutting, the mountain peak, or the intended use for the fallen tree.
While the simileme depends for its existence on being expressed in specific words, the choice of those words is a separate act. The most compelling proof for the nonverbal existence of the tree simileme is found in a two other passages that draw upon its elements even though they are not similes. Clearest is The elements shared with the tree simileme are the cutter, his act of cutting, and the mountain locale. Likewise, Again the poet uses the elements of cutting, a cutting implement, the oak trees, and the mountain.
However, in each of these passages—one an indication of time analogous to the formal independence of the simile, one a scene from the ongoing narrative—the poet has drawn upon categories contained in the tree simileme, but the passages do not occur in the limited contexts standard for tree similes, and in the first two cases they do not function as similes.
If the form and usage of similes developed over a long period, it is surprising that there are only seven identically repeated extended similes in the two poems, 38 but this number rises significantly if one considers repetitions at a level deeper than the verbal expression. The tree similes derive from a simileme that is easy to analyze because there are relatively few examples in the Homeric text, but the characteristics of this simileme can be found in the other, more complex simile families: lions and boars, wind and wave, fire, and gods.
The charts that appear in the appendix list the repeated motifs common to these similemes and show the flexibility available to the poet in choosing among and adapting these elements within a limited number of contexts. In order to fully appreciate the achievement of the individual poet, it is necessary to develop a method that will not only allow critics to perceive the nonverbal form of the simile but also to be conscious of shadings the poet could assign to each component.
If a poet chooses a lion simile, then all of the elements carried with the simileme are instantly present; he must decide either to include or omit each in forming the individual simile. Of course, context is always important.
Since the poet is attempting to embed his simile within his story, he has good reason to use words from the surrounding narrative to express parallel features of the simile. Thus each simile is the result of a series of individual.
As the largest of the simile families, the lion and boar similes provide the best examples of the variables that the poet manipulates in bringing the simileme to verbal expression see chart 2. The comparison is sometimes to one animal and sometimes to several. Generally the number in the narrative is repeated in the simile; often a precise dual matches a pair in the text.
Yet these variations seem to make no difference in the list of motifs comprising the simile. And there are even occasions where the numbers between narrative and simile are in disagreement, such as Many similes are linked to the narrative by a repetition of an action word:. It is not uncommon for the action in the simile to be so complex that it is compared to at least two movements in the narrative.
For example, the simile at 5. Of course, the major subjects are distinguishable in that the boar is not a carnivore and thus does not prey on other animals for food, although he does confront the same hunters. And there are some similes where the lion challenges a boar in a fight for their lives. Time or place.
In each case there are alternatives. Such a variety of alternatives offers the poet many choices in generating individual similes. The phrasing for several. This exploration of the complex traditional material underlying each simile shows the necessity of including the audience as a reliable co-creating participant in the production of the Homeric poems.
From a lifetime of hearing previous performances the audience could hear the enrichment of the narrative that Homer created through the indirectness of the simile as well his adjustments for its length or shortness. They could then evaluate the choice of subject, since they were aware of the various alternate similemes that the tradition made available to the poet for specific narrative junctures.
The audience would not only listen to the details of the individual image and appreciate its contribution to the whole passage; their awareness of the basic simileme would also make possible a complex kind of coded communication—not only through words and phrases but also through silent communication e. Homeric epic was a joint creation of a trained poet and an experienced audience, in which the skill of the poet was judged not on the basis of free invention but rather on the effectiveness of his choices from among known alternatives.
One of the clearest examples of this silent communication occurs at Odyssey 4. Penelope is in her bed wondering whether her son has been slain, and then drifts off to sleep:. This simile occurs at an appropriate juncture: one of the standard uses of the simile is to provide a parallel scene through which the poet can express the psychological state of a person in the narrative.
Yet though it may seem unsuitable for the poet to have chosen the subject of the lion, with its customary battlefield associations, that is precisely the point. Both poet and audience knew that the simileme of farm animals was readily available, as well as those of deer or birds, 48 all of which would provide a tone more consistent with the unwarlike narrative.
Yet the poet rejected these topics in order to use an image that provided more than a superficial parallel. When the poet suppresses any suggestion that the lion is killed or the lion is triumphant, he leaves his audience to imagine the continuation with an enhanced respect for the capabilities and resources of Penelope. Or, the reverse—the poet may use scenes from more lyrical, gentler nature to describe warlike elements in the narrative:. Again, knowledge of the tradition enriches communication.
Similes are constantly used to describe the gleam of weapons 50 —here the death weapon at the final moment of the battle between Achilles and Hector. Homer has gone out of his way to present this star as "the most beautiful star in the heavens," in contrast to the language used of Achilles, which focuses on his monomaniacal, ugly pursuit of vengeance. Similes are attached to the narrative by a limited and constantly repeated set of phrases e.
It is important for the audience to realize through an explicit marker that the poet has begun a section that requires experience of the simile tradition for full appreciation. In addition, a prominent point may serve to anchor the simile tightly—and perhaps mechanically—within the context both before and after the simile and thus contribute to the surface impression of "threaded speech" that is so common a characteristic of Homeric verse.
A clear example of a simile framed by standard linking phrases, presenting only a single point of connection, and significantly enriching the full passage through artful extensions is the famous lyric simile at Iliad 8. Formally this simile is introduced with the customary "just as when" and is reattached to the narrative by an equally familiar "so many were the fires.
This single point of connection, however, scarcely explains the effectiveness of this simile either as an image in itself or as a marker of this pivotal point in the story. The poet has chosen to express a fuller form of the fire simileme by adding a series of details to the picture. As the audience experiences each added phrase, the scope is widened. First, there is the narrow view of bright stars. The consistency with which the poet is able to make a simile respond significantly to the larger narrative movement reveals a mind striving to create a particularized complex image from preexistent building blocks.
In putting the simileme into words he creates a vivid picture both by including complementary objects and suppressing alternatives that he felt were inappropriate. It is the role of the audience to appreciate the individual simile as the mental product of suppressed alternatives—and then to fit the decoded comparison into the developing larger narrative. Above I defined a short simile as a version of the simileme in which all the components but one had been passed over.
While short similes are often treated as virtually meaningless formulaic filler, Homer seems to have employed these similes with the realization that they conjure up the full pattern of the simileme for the audience even though only one component is mentioned. The organizing force of the simileme underlies all similes in that family, long and short, and the full awareness of the background is vital if these similes are to be effective in their context.
A compelling example of the allusive potential in a short simile occurs at Iliad In the final books of the Iliad Achilles has been compared to a lion three times: The poet has formed each of these similes by choosing to enhance certain features of the simileme and to suppress others. At the end of the Iliad Achilles transcends his society—yet this development is not supported by that last simile of the lion. It is only a short formulaic simile; yet even this short mention of the lion should evoke the whole simileme for the audience.
They will be reminded of the usual warlike context for such subjects and may even recall the three lion similes that have already described Achilles in his aristeia. There is no way to avoid the conclusion that the lion simile on the surface i.
Achilles is a tentative member of a new generation. He is not presented as. In the speech immediately preceding the short lion simile Achilles has shown his familiar impatience:. These are the words of a recently converted and uncertain new man; the reflex of the warrior code is strong in him and will break out with disastrous consequences if he is pushed.
He is openly telling Priam to respect the fragile nature of his newfound behavior. In form short similes often share the same formulaic beginning as extended ones, since long similes are usually phrased as a series of motifs that are added to the initial brief statement of the subject. Thus the presence of a simile is marked clearly, even though the audience does not know whether it will be long or short. Once their attention is caught, the short simile effectively fulfills clear poetic purposes:.
The widespread usage of the short simile demonstrates its usefulness in providing another bit of flexibility for an audience well versed in traditional technique. In summary, the simileme exists powerfully in the minds of both poet and audience even though it can never be fully defined or represented in any one concrete simile.
The usefulness of similemes in poetic composition is evident in the frequency with which the poet draws upon them—although their power is no greater than that of any other element in the traditional diction. The contexts in which the similemes appear are sufficiently confined that they seem subject to many of the same rules that have been defined for type scenes; one can even meaningfully speak of a modified economy and extension in the usage of the simile.
But the greatest piece of evidence for the existence of the simileme is the regularity with which similes of a single family are developed from a series of motifs that are repeatedly used together; it is this consistency that makes possible the construction of the charts of simile families. Such similemes are highly flexible and complex collections of nonverbal components that give poet and audience an extranarrative device dependent on a coded language and capable of providing the narrative with reinforcement, nuance, and subtlety.
The expressive potential of conscious framing is often unnoticed, yet it is a technique used broadly in the arts, most obviously in painting and filmmaking. A painter is surrounded with the disorderly collection of paraphernalia typical of a studio, and a movie director sits among the chaos of his crew and equipment; each is attempting to create a small patch of order, and in both cases the frame is crucial in isolating the area in which a controlled design can be realized.
Selection of the objects to include within the frame is of equal importance. In addition, objects and the modes in which they will be presented offer major opportunities for selection,. But the decision to add to a composition is the inverse of the choice to reject; the creative process encompasses both in a simultaneous decision.
The identification of the simileme allows a critic to construct sets of alternatives considered by the poet at each parallel juncture. It is just as significant to discover that the poet did not include a simile in one passage as that he did in another; the effects of the two scenes can be quite different and should offer clues to the design of the larger narrative.
Likewise, it is vital for the interpretation of a passage to know why the poet created a simile that contained a large number of categories, while at other places he omitted many of these in order to produce a shorter version. There are even possibilities of evaluating the relative harshness or calmness, the crudeness or refinement, the bleakness or brightness within the phrases the poet has chosen; such comparative evaluations become possible once the alternatives that were not chosen for each passage have been made clear.
In addition, the simileme places several standard problems regarding Homeric similes into new perspectives:. The talent, poetic brilliance, and remarkable abilities shown by later poets should not be denied to Homer even though he was dependent on those modes of expression prevalent in his own time. To the extent that his verse-making is viewed as a mechanical process, the fault is ours for underestimating his creations on the basis of criteria developed from the study of later and more familiar poetry.
The derivation of. There is no simple way to limit the holdings of the human mind from which a poet can draw. Such a stock is built through experience, and we are so ignorant of Homer—his home, his workplace, his method and occasion of composition, significant facts about his life and the time in which he lived—that it is impossible to specify the experiences that formed and were re-formed in his mind and in that of his audience.
Studies of the broader traditional background to the epics suggest that various sets of information were coded and available to the poet; they operated simultaneously at several different levels and could be formed into a variety of combinations in the process of verse-making and verse-hearing. The easiest of these sets to identify, analyze, and quantify has been the pervasive formulaic language in the two epics.
Homer was not enslaved to these formulae, but he did choose to use and adapt formulaic speech as the basis of his expression. In addition, some typological scenes were repeated word for word in the poems and seem to have been maintained in his mind as virtually preexisting units.
Of equal interest are the traditional features that were not carried in verbal form but were images, ideas, or concepts that could be brought into the poems through a variety of expressions; these existed separately from the system of formulaic language. They vary widely in subject and use—the standard actions of epic verse, narrative stories of individual heroes and incidents that could be transferred among several heroes, the basic tales of the ancient kingdoms, the customary norms and qualitative values accepted by all members of the society, devices for developing a narrative, and—among the latter—the similemes.
Most of these nonverbal conceptions were shared by Homer, his fellow poets, and his audience as basic elements of their culture. He drew from earlier legends and stories that he carried in his mind, organizing his selection through the poetic devices that he had learned from years of listening and performing. To express this personal statement to others he turned to the preexistent formulaic language and worked to make this language tell the narrative in the way he wanted it told.
Of course, this is too diagrammatic a scheme to represent. In the practice of traditional storytelling the poet combines elements of plot and character in a productive balance, and as he develops his story, they become mutually reinforcing. At the beginning of book 11 the Greeks begin a new day of fighting. Dawn breaks, Eris shouts a shrill call to battle and makes the Greeks eager for war, and Agamemnon encourages his troops and arms among them.
He then leads the Greeks onto the battlefield in a series of encounters that are destructive, vindictive, and bloody, but this rampage is the appropriate introduction to a book of Greek setbacks. In other words, the needs of the plot often seem to call forth a specific character, and individual characters mark developments in the plot. It seems certain that Homer did not invent his major characters; 3 rather, he repeatedly borrows them from earlier tales by accommodating and adapting their salient traits to the needs of his continuing narrative.
In addition, a large number of minor figures appearing only once or twice in the Homeric poems probably had roles in local sagas, but their stories were never sufficiently significant to earn them a major part in the more widespread narrative tradition. There are two sections of the Iliad where a relatively large number of similes are major features in presentation of the motives and values of major characters: in book 2 they underline the characterization of Agamemnon, and in books 21—22 they heighten the contrast between Achilles and Hector.
This book not only contains a collection of different simile subjects and a mix of similes ranging from the highly traditional to the uniquely structured e. The subjects are taken from familiar similemes—wind, fire, birds, gods, and insects—and tradition firmly underlies the placement of each simile.
Yet there are signs that Homer significantly adapts traditional features of the similemes to enhance his story. And, of course, it is important to the interpretation of the individual similes to acknowledge that the audience had a firm knowledge of the alternatives the poet considered and thereby could evaluate what he was accepting, modifying, and suppressing in structuring his narrative. Book 2 of the Iliad falls easily into two narrative units: 1 efforts to organize the army 1— and 2 its final marshalling and marching to meet the Trojans — The division between these sections is clearly signaled in lines —52, when Agamemnon orders his heralds to summon the Greeks for battle; leaders encourage their men, and Athena marches with the army to rouse its spirit.
This division of the book is echoed by the differing poetic strategies in each part. While the narrative of book 2 develops from the army at rest to the army marching to its first battle in the Iliad , the theme of the book is leadership. In neither books 1 nor 2 does Agamemnon mold his troops into a strong fighting unit.
When Agamemnon misinforms the troops about his dream, he misreads the spirit of the army and causes extreme disorganization. There is good evidence that the inherited language of early Greek narrative suggested a limited number of subjects at certain common junctures; on some occasions the poet chose to follow these prompts, often he made modifications, and at times he opted not to use a simile at all.
This simile, describing the army gathering for the assembly, is drawn from the insect simileme. There are few parallel descriptions of groups that gather but do not go to war immediately; usually armies are mustered to attack each other or at least to advance to battle. In such scenes the similes center on lions, wind and waves, fire, and rushing rivers.
Perhaps the closest parallel to the movement of troops not directly involved in battle occurs in the Epipolesis , where Agamemnon encounters the two Ajaxes and their followers readying themselves for war:. By choosing insects for the first of many similes describing the army in book 2, the poet prepares his audience, well aware of the traditional possibilities in the insect simileme, to focus on the fighting spirit of the Greeks.
Yet at the same time, when he rigorously suppresses the available warlike elements to create a spring scene of untroubled bees, he counts on that same audience to realize that he has eliminated the aggressive element of the simileme in order to present the least ready army in the Iliad. The disorder and uncertainty in its movements are made clear in their random clustering 82 and 89 and their lack of direction The unplanned and chaotic rush of the army to the ships and back again to the assembly is described by three wind and wave similes, two of which are juxtaposed and closely parallel in structure.
The clearest example of the destructive potential in this simileme is:. By comparison, the three wind and wave similes in book 2 present an image of nature offering little threat or danger. But the phrasing also softens the scene: the winds rushing down from the "clouds of father Zeus" seem less dramatic than the winds that come to the plain "driven by the thunder of father Zeus" The second simile describes a wind blowing through a cornfield.
For comparison there is a simile of winds blowing through a forest at This storm is a major event; the winds are strong enough to break branches. In contrast, the bobbing ears in the cornfield recall an everyday scene on the farm that should only arouse delight.
Each of the two similes in book 2 and is drawn from one of the most traditional subjects, but the poet diminishes the dangerous potential of the winds by omitting those parts of the simileme that menace or destroy. It is further significant that these two similes are joined with no intervening line, and the full unit is framed by the same phrase in the narrative: "The council was moved" and Juxtaposed similes are found elsewhere at 2. The previously mentioned simile at In book 2 the waves thunder on a broad beach and the sea roars.
This is a scene that could well attract picnickers and hikers—not much threat compared to the violent whirlwind that is present elsewhere in the simile repertoire. Still, the poet has not chosen the mildest descriptions of wind and waves for book 2. There is no calmer picture of winds than that of the fog hanging over the mountaintops when the winds are asleep 5.
Most of the similes in book 2 present only middling or weak support. This simile is curious because it seems to have two focuses in the narrative, neither of which is directly supported within the simile. It is introduced by the phrase "The Argives cried aloud" but rejoins the narrative with the troops being scattered among the ships.
In the simile there is no word for sound, and the only support for the scattering of the Greeks is the winds that blow "from this side and that. The emphasis within the simile seems to be on steadfastness. The rock itself is a "high, jutting crag that the waves never leave"; in support of this reading, there is a parallel passage in which both narrative and simile use the image of the crag to underline the steadfast resistance of a group:.
In book 2, however, steadfastness does not seem relevant—especially since the assembly is in the process of scattering, each man to his own ship. Even with this change in narrative situation, the simile in book 2 is not as strongly phrased as that in book In book 2 the headland is high; in book 15 the crag is towering.
The crag simile in book 2 is formed. The marshalling of the Greek army for its grand presentation in the Catalogue is a major moment. In no other passage is the power of the largest expeditionary force in Greek legend made so explicit, with the names of heroes from all parts of the Greek world joined in one panoramic display.
This display of the Greek forces provides a moment of order from which the maelstrom of the Iliad will be generated; only in book 23 will the characters of the Greek heroic world be regathered. The Catalogue is introduced with appropriate weight by the unique prelude of seven similes in twenty-nine lines:.
Simply stated, there is no short passage of Homeric narrative that is as densely packed with similes. The effect is even greater because none of the seven similes is short. The repertoire of fire similes contains two basic types: one fire is frightening in its ability to destroy; the other is beautiful and bright, an object of wonder.
The destructive fire is nowhere better exemplified than at But there is also the more lyrical fire that describes the gleam from the divine arms of Achilles:. In this simile the gleam of a distant fire is so far away that the sailors are more concerned over friends left behind than any threat of storm damage. Fire is a common comparison for the activity of warriors, alone or in groups, often describing a strong attack or an impassioned spirit.
While the simile from book 11 directly focuses on the wind that whips the fire, the simile in book 2 merely defines the location of the fire, "on the peaks of a mountain. Again a traditional subject, fire, is designed by the poet to express far less than full strength. The range of power within the simileme is large; there is an extreme diminution of force at Odyssey 5. When the actions of warriors are compared to birds, the simile usually focuses on the strength of the attack.
In addition, there are similes where whole groups of attacking warriors are compared to birds of prey; for example, Odysseus and his friends attack the panicked suitors in the final battle at his palace:. The simile at 2. These birds seek no prey; they fly randomly here and there as they delight in the openness of the meadow. In addition, the species cited are traditionally victims.
Both Penelope and Telemachus see an eagle attack a single goose or geese, and later the interpretation is immediately offered that Odysseus is the eagle that will overpower and take vengeance on the weaker suitors Ody. Because line is repeated elsewhere in a similar context, it is probable that it is a traditional listing of victims:.
Thus, another dilution of a traditional subject by selecting the weaker features in the simileme. Once again the low end of heroic potential within the simileme is reached when Achilles complains of his disadvantaged position in. Homer juxtaposes these two similes with differing subjects to illustrate the vast number of troops marching against the Trojans. The short simile of leaves and flowers seems a standard comparison repeated at Odyssey 9. Flies also seem a typological subject for this context: there is another simile at In the places where he uses a simile to illustrate numbers of troops, the tradition—as far as it can be defined—offers only two subjects of consistent usage: insects and leaves.
This simile describes the leaders among their men, a scene that occurs often in the Iliad and Odyssey , several times with a simile. In almost every case the tone of the simile reflects the surrounding narrative. If the men are. Equally appropriate analogues for a war context are the comparisons of Idomeneus to a boar, of the two Ajaxes to a dark cloud that causes the goatherd to drive his flock to safety, of the men thronging around Diomedes to lions or boars, and the appearance of Hector among his followers as an evil star 4.
In the Iliad even Odysseus, when he is not actually fighting, is compared to a ram walking through a flock of white ewes 3. The simile in book 2, however, presents a striking discrepancy between the warrior world of the army and a scene of peaceful nature, a discrepancy paralleled in the aristeia of Idomeneus. Aeneas gathers his comrades to confront Idomeneus, and the soldiers follow along:. Because this tranquil scene introduces some of the goriest fighting and crudest woundings in the Iliad , the effect of the simile emerges only from a view of.
Likewise, in book 2 the mustering of the army for combat would naturally call for a simile appropriate to a warlike context. Instead the poet has developed the simile to stress the non-warlike features of the Greek leaders: the goatherds control the flocks easily, the scene is a pasture, and the flocks have idly mingled together.
Agamemnon is presented as the supreme king of the Greek army with two more juxtaposed similes. First, though there are other similes in which alternatives are offered as comparisons, here Agamemnon is simultaneously likened to three different divinities. With the sole exception of Hector,. There is even a lowered intensity in the choice of the simile form. The simile by its nature is an indirect description. The second simile centers on a bull, an animal familiar from the simile repertoire.
Bulls are usually victims, especially of lions. Similes of farm animals usually describe warriors who are helpless or dying The simile of the mother cow lowing over her calf that describes Menelaus taking his stand over the body of Patroclus at Menelaus is always a warrior who causes concern to others when he is exposed to danger.
His strength is immediately shown to be sound when he slays Euphorbus just as a tempest uproots a young olive tree 53 , and he is compared to an enraged lion as he terrifies the Trojans cowering around him But then Hector confronts him; he quails and retreats to seek Ajax, who returns with him to guard the body of Patroclus. A related use of the farm animal simileme occurs in the passage where Paris returns to battle as a horse racing to the pasture 6. When the wounded Hector recovers his strength and reenters battle, he receives the same simile to express his renewed energy, but it is immediately enhanced with a second simile of a lion Though the horse simile is repeated word for word, the effect is totally different; when the second simile is missing, Paris seems a frivolous creature interested only in warrior-like posturing.
The tone of the bull simile in book 2 can be further contrasted with alternative comparisons at similar junctures. The closest parallel is at Also From this brief survey it appears that warriors are usually compared to farm animals when the poet presents them as weak, helpless, or pathetic—and there is no warlike word or serious threat added to the image of the kingly bull amid the cattle that describes Agamemnon. This simile suits the infectious joy of men who have been weeping disconsolately on the beach.
His leadership has ebbed to the point where his men will have to remind him of their goal. A like tone of failed leadership describes the commander Agamemnon as he musters his troops for the Catalogue. If a simile cluster is defined as a grouping of at least three long similes within thirty lines, all of which are focused on a single scene, then there are only three other identifiable simile clusters.
In book 11 after Agamemnon departs wounded from the battle —83 , Hector advances for the day of glory promised by Zeus. Second, in book 15 when the Trojans are on the verge of burning the Greek ships, thus fulfilling the plan of Zeus and putting crucial pressure on Achilles ff.
In this passage similes respond to the balanced battle between Greeks and Trojans:. These four passages in books 2, 11, 15, and 17 establish the simile cluster as a form familiar to the poet. Two rules prevail in such clusters:.
Similes in such passages are derived from a variety of similemes, but there is no need to coordinate the subjects within the cluster so that one will suggest or lead to the next, nor is there any necessity for a framing or linking structure.
The word "groan" stenachizo occurs before and after the second simile—and the repetition gives simile and narrative a common focus. The sound of the fire is not directly reported by nemoito "were swept" , but there is no necessary incompatibility between the idea of a large fire sweeping the earth and a great sound.
Since these two similes immediately follow the Catalogue of the Greek ships, they are parallel to the earlier cluster of seven introductory similes. Fire is a traditional simile subject accompanying the army on the march or in battle. The image of Zeus lashing the land is insufficiently paralleled in Homeric poetry to construct a pattern of a simile family, but the story is told by Hesiod:.
Both the Hesiodic passage and the simile present a scene of massive destruction. In addition, since only four of those fourteen are short, similes play an extraordinarily important role in the telling of this tale.
It is further. Because the tone of the similes sharply diverges from the war preparations in the narrative, their consistency strongly supports the theme of weakened leadership. From its first scene book 2 is built from intrigue, deceit, and mistaken judgment. The book opens with Zeus instituting the plan that will accomplish his promise to Thetis; he sends a dream to Agamemnon that urges the exact opposite of that promise: arm the Greeks and seize Troy.
When the troops seize upon his words and rush to the ships, their actions and thoughts threaten to abort the mission and thus run contrary to the plan of Zeus. The disabling and weakening of the vast army, which is conveyed through its backward and forward movements, is repeatedly described by similes that make the troops seem harmless. This ironic undercutting reaches its climax in the cluster of seven similes before the Catalogue.
Homer introduces this section with these words:. But this firm war spirit is immediately dissipated by the similes—the fire that gleams but does not threaten or destroy, the birds that glory in the freedom of disorganized flight, the leaves and the flowers in springtime, the farmyard flies, and the goats roaming the pastureland. The similes closely accompany this change.
At and the similes describe massive destruction as Zeus enters the simile world by hurling his thunderbolts at the earth, lashing the land. Now there is no mention of springtime or harmless movements. Here the forces of nature run amok as fire sweeps the land and the earth groans.
The deliberateness with which similes support the narrative of book 2 becomes even more apparent in examining those junctures where the poet chose other means to continue his narrative even though the simile was a traditional option. The major literary device of book 2 is irony, the constant exploitation of the gap between reality and illusion.
In the Greek universe the plans of the gods are always stronger than those of humans. If heroes struggle against the established tide, they will suffer and perhaps die; but if they can catch the flow, they can move painlessly—even effortlessly—forward. To follow that irresistible direction they will often have to repress their own plans and highest goals.
Book 2 of the Iliad is rooted in this split between the overwhelming strength of the gods and the frailty of mortals. Zeus intends to kill numbers of Greeks and lures them into cooperating with his plan by telling them a lie. Such is the confusing situation in which humans find themselves under the reign of deceptive gods.
The situation in book 2 would present the familiar struggle of mortals attempting to interpret the riddling comments of god were it not for the intervention of the vain and haughty Agamemnon. As the king reverses the clear pronouncement of Zeus, his troops struggle to find the direction of events.
Following their best judgment, they place themselves in an even weaker position than if they had obeyed the simple command of Zeus that, though misleading, at least gave them a clear direction and did not attempt to manage them through psychological games.
The similes in book 2 consistently support the pervasive irony of the strong-but-weak army directed by the powerful-yet-inept commander. They are repeatedly placed to emphasize the reactions of the army as the visible. Book 21 of the Iliad is built from four disillusioning actions—events that reveal unpleasant and unexpected truths about the situations of the heroes: 55 Achilles kills Lycaon, a warrior he thought he had permanently removed from the battlefield 1— ; the river god Xanthos, intent on drowning Achilles, is forced to retreat before the overwhelming power of Hephaistos — ; gods descend to the battlefield only to become involved in personal bickering while men continue to die — ; and Achilles, in pursuing an enemy, suddenly finds that he is fighting a phantom — In these four scenes the poet undermines the actions and intentions of men and gods in order to provide a meaningful introduction to the battle between Hector and Achilles; by the end of book 21 Achilles has evidence that his pursuit of honor will deprive him of all humane standards and offer him no worthwhile reward.
In the first section 1— Achilles leaps into the Xanthos River to continue slaying Trojan warriors and seizes twelve youths for human sacrifice, perhaps his most inhumane act. Killing enemy warriors or capturing them for ransom are familiar and suitable activities in the Iliad , but few warriors take prisoners to be living sacrifices. To emphasize the savage quality of his attack, Homer sketches a contrasting lyrical background: This first questioning of the effectiveness of war as a human pursuit is ironically absurd; later questions in this book will be more realistic.
Lycaon supplicates Achilles, who responds harshly, an answer foreshadowing his brutality in book In the second section Achilles slays Asteropaeus, the son of the river Axius, and many of his comrades. The river Xanthus becomes so choked with corpses that it begs Achilles to stop, but he continues his bloody rampage — In the first scene Achilles meets a weaker warrior and not only denies him the humane treatment that he gave him on an earlier occasion but also refuses his request for supplication; in the second scene a force of nature itself rebukes Achilles for his arrogant behavior.
But no sooner does the river begin to pursue him than Poseidon and Athena—with the approval of Zeus—protect Achilles and encourage him to continue fighting until he pens the Trojans within their walls and slays Hector. Achilles has become a pawn in the hands of powerful divinities who carry the battle to a cosmic scale — Hephaestus sweeps the plain with fire to drive back the river, and finally a number of gods are drawn into battle—leaving the concerns of men far behind.
At line the third section begins as a variety of gods enter the battle, and it is explicitly stated that Zeus laughs as he watches the scene — Divine emotions throughout this section are typical of the petty jealousies and vindictiveness that motivate the gods in their dealings with one another. Athena and Ares trade insults, and she lays him flat with a large boundary stone. Aphrodite tries to lead Ares away, but she too is struck by Athena.
Poseidon urges Apollo into battle by reminding him how thankless the men of Troy have been to their patron gods, but Apollo curtly replies that men are not worth fighting over. Artemis tries to shame her brother into fighting with Poseidon, but Hera grabs her by the hands and whips her with her own bow until she flees in tears from the battlefield.
Throughout this section the serious toils of humans are ignored as individual divinities vie for momentary prominence. Apollo enters Troy to plan the final deception of the book; he rouses Agenor, whom Achilles now chases in his insatiable pursuit of glory. But this pursuit is futile on all fronts. Apollo himself had urged Agenor to distract Achilles so that the other Trojans could flee safely into the city.
Though Agenor considered fleeing or facing Achilles, this was senseless; Apollo had no intention of letting him actually confront the Greek hero. Both Achilles and Agenor are openly manipulated. The four sections of book 21 all present war as an unworthy—even irrational—pursuit for men. Achilles then so pollutes the river that nature itself rebels against his intrusion. In section 3 it is made clear that divinities are so obsessed with their own prerogatives that they treat the decisions and debates of humans as frivolous.
The book closes with a divine game in which Apollo sets all the rules, deceitfully hindering mortals from pursuing their own goals. In this book two separate dramas are going on at once; the earthly drama takes place on the battlefield around Troy. Men respond to their thoughts and feelings in choosing the most rational course; the result may be an unfortunate and ugly war, but its heroes are actively striving to gain honor within their own value system.
The second drama is among the gods, a drama that produces no profound or lasting results because of their continual quarreling and jockeying for position. If humans could learn the lessons of book 21, they would make commitments only on the understanding that all such planning might be futile. The explosion triggers an avalanche that derails and wrecks the train.
With Namgoong unresponsive, Yona escapes the wreckage with Timmy. They see a polar bear in the distance, indicating that life exists outside the train. The bear notices them. When I first came across Transperceneige , the first thing that grabbed my attention was the unique cinematic space of a train.
Hundreds of metal pieces moving like a snake carrying people squirming inside gripped my heart. And the people were fighting against each other. They were not equal in this Noah's ark that held the last survivors as they were divided into cars. In the winter of , Bong found Jean-Marc Rochette 's French graphic novel series Le Transperceneige at a comic book shop near Hongik University and finished reading the entire series while standing in front of the bookshelf where he found it.
Bong showed the series to his friends, fellow director Park Chan-wook and producer Lee Tae-hun, who loved it as well. Bong stated, " I had to come up with a completely new story and new characters in order to create a new, dynamic Snowpiercer that was packed with cinematic exhilaration. In the following year, Park's production company Moho Film acquired the copyrights to the original story of Snowpiercer for Bong, and in the copyrights to the story extended.
The first draft of the screenplay for Snowpiercer was completed on 15 September , and in December, the second draft of screenplay was completed and modified. The production team travelled to Europe for studio scouting and ended up with two studio choices: Barrandov Studios in Czech Republic and Korda Studios in Hungary. In August , a Czech producer hired by the production team began negotiations with two film studios for availability; Barrandov Studios was eventually chosen as the film studio and production service provider of Snowpiercer.
On 18 January , Kelly Masterson was hired to rewrite the script before it went into production due to Bong seeing his screenplay work on Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and being impressed with the tonality of darkness and acuity in the story. I had to capture that long story in a two-hour film, so rather than cut out some scenes from the comic, I just rewrote the whole story to fit this time frame.
On 13 January , Chris Evans began negotiations to star in the film adaptation, and was later confirmed as the film's male lead. I love the fact that I am working for Director Bong. I don't care what he's asking me to do because he's a really great filmmaker.
Bong states that it took four years to develop the project, with an additional three to produce with Park. On August the studio was determined as the shooting location and on October , Bong and his production team moved to the Czech Republic. The preparatory production began in Tyrol , Austria during mid-March for one day to shoot some snowy scenery on the Hintertux Glacier , which made for excellent conditions and perfect weather.
Bong filmed Snowpiercer with 35mm film in a 1. Bong's original wish was to shoot the film entirely in Korea, but a studio large enough to accommodate a set of such scale was difficult to find, thus Barrandov Studio was used instead, requiring the construction of a meter replica of the title train.
Shooting at Barrandov Studios will never stop with a perpetual engine. Flash SFX, the team involved in the construction of the gimbal stated, "The main challenge of physical effects work was that of inventing and developing a system that would perfectly simulate movements of train in motion. We managed to create a massive gimbal system supporting train cars with a total weight close to tons.
It was capable of simulating all sideway motions and vibrations of the train, including perfect make-believe curves of railroad tracks. On 14 July , principal photography officially wrapped in the Barrandov Studios after a day shoot,   with post-production carried out in South Korea, and Bong started editing the film for its release. Thus, visual effects supervisor Michel Mielke said " Visual effects designer Eric Durst spoke of the Aquarium Car being an intriguing challenge of lighting, with the differentiation of a water-based environment on one side and a frozen-based landscape at the other.
Durst and his team, including director of photography Alex Hong, had light "travel through water trays on top of the aquarium structure. Among the most challenging effects on the train was the length of the train and the number of cars that needed to be handled.
Mielke had a "very complex rig" created and built to provide the animators involved in the creating process with enough capability as was possible. He stated, "The rig managed that the train automatically followed the rails, that the motion of the wagons where simulated depending on the rails, that the wagons could be changed easily and so on.
Parallel to principal photography in Prague, the first designs of visuals spanned from May up until the final shots of early March , with a team of over 70 artists developing over VFX-shots with almost 50 being full of computer-generated imagery.
On creating individuality for the passengers in the tail section, George had the designs come from random materials they would use to fashion practical clothing, "The tail section clothing was pieced together from different garments and repairs were made on top of that. They had to improvise with any materials that were left on the train. The design was difficult as George had to conceal Evans's muscular physique and muscle mass thus, "We had to cut out the sleeves of his under layers to help him look leaner.
George personally designed the costumes for Nam and Yona, who wear the "darker-coloured intense black". George also designed many of the tail section costumes, including Nam's, using Japanese Boro fabric. In creating Claude's yellow coat and dress, George was mindful of the fact it was the first colour of brightness in the tail section scene, as well as the property of yellow being the most luminous colour in the spectrum.
In order to make the colours appear "used" and "dirty", Nekvasil and company started with colourful props that were subsequently washed out and forcibly aged to create a feeling of "really used property and space", while creating a back story to justify the appearance. When designing the train, Nekvasil and Bong hit upon the idea of the train not being designed by one man in one specific moment; the idea that "these various train cars were built in different periods of Wilford's life".
The design was difficult due to distance limitations, as Nekvasil said, " Instead of overly relying on CGI , Nekvasil's production design team constructed twenty-six individual train cars and used a giant gyroscopic gimbal in Prague's Barrandov Studios to simulate the movement of an actual train when shooting. In May , Marco Beltrami was hired to compose the incidental music for Snowpiercer.
The film's official soundtrack was released in July in South Korea and the international release date was on 26 August All music is composed by Marco Beltrami. In response to the poor score given by the test audience, Weinstein said to Bong they needed to cut more. The film was eventually released on home media in North America on 21 October ,  and became available on Netflix for streaming on 1 November The film holds the domestic record for the fastest movie domestic and foreign to reach four million admissions, which it achieved in its fifth day after premiere, and another record for the highest weekend figure from Friday to Sunday for a Korean film, with 2.
The website's critical consensus states, " Snowpiercer offers an audaciously ambitious action spectacle for filmgoers numb to effects-driven blockbusters. Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the piece an "A" rating, stating, " Snowpiercer sucks you into its strange, brave new world so completely, it leaves you with the all-too-rare sensation that you've just witnessed something you've never seen before Scott wrote, in his review for The New York Times , "Planetary destruction and human extinction happen a half-dozen times every summer.
It's rarely this refreshing, though. Bong grabs onto the grungy conventions of postapocalyptic adventure with relish. He serves up claustrophobic action scenes one largely shot in the dark and ominous, messianic overtones as the band of rebels makes its way forward.
Lou Lumenick of The New York Post gave the film high acclaim, writing, "Don't miss it—this is enormously fun visionary filmmaking, with a witty script and a great international cast. Clarence Tsui of The Hollywood Reporter wrote a highly positive review, commenting, " Snowpiercer is still an intellectually and artistically superior vehicle to many of the end-of-days futuristic action thrillers out there. Choe's editing—are exceptional. James Rocchi of Film.
Some were more critical of the film. Jordan Adler of We've Got This Covered wrote "We leave Snowpiercer more exhausted with questions than invigorated by its unique vision and style. It is a formidable example of directorial control bogged down by poor writing, half-finished effects work and a rather thin exploration of a fascinating dystopian universe. It is available on Netflix for worldwide distribution.
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