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Language of gods and men

by 1975- Wester, James Brandon

Abstract (Summary)
This study of how the gods are depicted in the Iliad focuses on the words of the characters themselves. I compare and contrast the speech-patterns of the poem’s divine and mortal figures, concentrating on three types of speech: quarrels, commands, and prophecies. An examination of the diction, syntax, formulae, and narrative effects of these speeches reveals how the Homeric poet-performer characterized the gods as superior to humans both ontologically and epistemologically. In the consideration of quarrels we see the basic contrast between the ineffective human method of handling conflict and the relatively successful way in which the Olympian characters resolve disputes through dialogue. The section on commands takes this observation one step further by demonstrating the relative stability of the divine hierarchy. The examination of prophetic language shows the importance of divine knowledge to the poet-performer’s characterization of the gods and its usefulness as a narrative and performative device.
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School:The University of Georgia

School Location:USA - Georgia

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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