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Homeric Simile

Book XXII: Death in the Great Hall
by

Ananya Madiraju

on 6 December 2013

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Transcript of Homeric Simile

Book XXII: Death in the Great Hall
Ananya & Rob

Homeric Simile
Stung Cattle
Once Athena's shield, the Aegis, is flashed in the great hall, the suitors are terrified.

" And the suitors mad with fear at her [Athena's] great sign stampeded like stung cattle by a river when the dread shimmering gadfly strikes in the summer"

A gadfly is a type of fly, that annoys and bites livestock such as horses. The fear-driven suitors are being compared to cattle when the gadfly returns in the hot summer. In this case, the thought of being near the goddess Athena is terrifying, because she is helping Odysseus defeat the suitors (divine intervention).
The Falcons
" And the suitors mad with fear at her great sign stampeded like stung cattle by a river when the dread shimmering gadfly strikes in summer, in the flowering season, in the long-drawn days. After them the attackers wheeled, as terrible as falcons from eyries in the mountains veering over and diving down with talons wide unsheathed on flights of birds, who cower down the sky in chutes and bursts along the valley – but the pouncing falcons grip their prey, no frantic wing avails, and farmers love to watch those beaked hunters. So these now fell upon the suitors in that hall, turning to strike and strike again, while torn men moaned at death, and blood ran smoking over the whole floor" (XXII, 334-346).
"After them the attackers wheeled, as terrible as falcons from eyries in the mountains veering over and diving down with talons wide unsheathed on flights of birds, who cower down the sky in chutes and bursts along the valley - but the pouncing falcons grip their prey, no frantic wing avails"

When the falcons kill the smaller birds, it symbolizes how Odysseus (and Telemakhos) slaughter the suitors. The smaller birds are no competition for the strong falcons.
The Farmers
"and the farmers love to watch those beaked hunters"

The farmers are secretly happy that Odysseus is murdering the suitors because they didn't want them to use up or abuse their resources, as they had been doing for years.
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