Iliad

Homer's Symbolism of Predators and Their Prey College

Both vicious and highly intelligent at once, wolves and leopards are often compared to the most venerated hunters and warriors of Homeric poetry. Though the role of predator and prey are switched in each of these pregnant pauses, the skill and intuition of both the Greek and Trojan armies is highlighted in similes from Books 16 and 21 of Homer's Iliad, in which combatants are likened to these ferocious animals. The simile in book 16 portrays a pack of wolves waiting for just the right moment to pounce on straying lambs, slowly picking them off one by one without the notice of their shepherd. In the simile from book 21, there is no wolf conniving a way to its meal; instead, a leopard faces down her opponent, her mind unwavering as she prepares to fight until the death of either the hunter or herself. Upon closer examination of the two similes, however, the similarity between the two animals begins to break down, suggesting a turn of events in the Trojan War, as the predator quickly becomes the prey and the Greeks begin to lose their battle.

The ferocity of the two armies is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the pregnant pauses in which men are compared to ruthless animals, implying a lack of remorse for those they have killed...

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