Why did Homer use Epithets in the Odyssey?

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Epithets were are used to give a character such as Odysseus a powerful recognition or significance, but what was the meaning of it??

Posted Fri 27th May, 2011 @ 11:56 by J.Singh

7 Answers

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The epithets are a common feature of oral composition as they would have been easy to remember.

Epithets are deffinate characterization of a character's qualities at that certain point in the poem, this means the audience should not dispute them as it is Homer's instruction of how we should view his character. Because they indicate a character at one point in the narratie they can also show character development.

They are used to draw parallels with characters particularly (the bright-eyed) Athene, (nimble-witted) Odysseus and (wise) Penelope. this strengthens Homer's theme of the power of cunning over strength because his main characters are presented to be exceptionally clever. as opposed to merely having physical strength like Polyphemus, for example, who was oercome by Odysseus's wit.

Answered Mon 2nd April, 2012 @ 20:04 by Molly
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What do you mean by meaning? I think they're used to help the audience - remember the Odyssey was sung.. think of them like a reoccuring line in a song. And obviously, yes, they added to the characterisation of the characters.

Answered Thu 1st March, 2012 @ 10:31 by Bethany
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They're a bit like extravagant nicknames?

Answered Sun 1st April, 2012 @ 10:33 by Georgia
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you can ask to buy the OCRclassical civilisation it has all the information u need

Answered Tue 1st May, 2012 @ 18:41 by caramelle59790
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e.g Ino of the slim ankles, she actually had slim ankles. nimble witted Odysseus that sort of thing, good luck

Answered Tue 22nd May, 2012 @ 11:48 by Charlotte
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To make the God/desses much more powerful and remember-able and truly flatter them. i mean, Homer was writing these 'stories' as odes to the god/desses, and he would feel that he was doing his religious duty y writing The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Also, this wasn't simply a scripture, they were supposed to e spoken, sang, etc., as a song or poetry. So these epithets would help the people listening build up an image of what their god/desses were like using their imagination.

Additionally, there were no religious studies class, or anything, the only way people learnt of their religion was through bards such as Homer and other people performing these poems. So epithets were added to help people remember aspects of their religion. e.g. Hermes the giant-slayer, reminds the ancient greeks of other stories [tie more stories into one story and makr the plot much more full].

Answered Fri 8th June, 2012 @ 21:21 by ReinsOfKhaos
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to help the bards remember characters and so that audiences would know what the were like.

Answered Thu 6th June, 2013 @ 17:17 by Elizabeth Swan