In Book 23, What do lines 354-387 represent stylistically. What is the purpose in including this part in the novel? "At those words, a black cloud of grief came shrouding over Laertes. Both hands...
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Odysseus seems to feel the need to test everybody's loyalty, even his father's. Here we see Laertes break down at the perceived death of his son,
"At those words a black cloud of grief came shrouding over Laertes. Both hands clawing the ground for dirt and grime, he poured it over his grizzled head, sobbing, in spasms."
Note the intense emotion and the natural elements (earth, grime,dirt) used to personify his grief. As well, the sense of a sad old patriarch is effective.