The Odyssey

A Musing Contrast

Throughout time, men have used previously written literary texts as models for compositions of their own. This borrowing of ideas and concepts can been seen quite clearly in the works of Roman authors, who, for the most part, imitated the style of their Greek predecessors. Virgil, the poet-author of The Aeneid, created what can be viewed as simply a Roman telling of a Greek classic. It seems little wonder, then, that Dante, a follower and enthusiast of this rhymester of yore, hackneyed Homer by using Virgil as a model. While the mimicking of passages can be seen as a sort of homage to precursors of literature, one may also contrast the similar passages, providing insight into the differences in the attitudes and outlooks of the two authors; a fine example of this is seen between Dante and Homer. While both Homer and Dante invoke the help of Muses, Homer's invocation for the story of a hero is directed toward a spiritual entity about another man, whereas Dante's invocation is internal, directed toward himself in both cases.

Homer begins this epic work with the line, "Sing in me, Muse..." -- this appeal to the divine not only reveals an assertion of the historicity of the story, but also shows humility in asking...

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