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My Favorite Simile in "The Iliad" and other Personal Responses to "The Iliad"

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One of my favorite similes in The Iliad is in the beginning of Book Three when the armies are closing in on each other. Paris challenges the Achaeans to send their best warrior to fight him one-on-one. When Menelaus saw him “flaunting before the troops” (III: 25) he “thrilled like a lion lighting on some handsome carcass, lucky to find an antlered stag or wild goat just as hunger strikes--he rips it, bolts it down, even with running dogs and lusty hunters rushing him” (III: 25-29). This is an allusion to animal-like behavior, which shows up quite often in the poem. It is a vivid description; the reader can imagine it taking place as well as some of the literal descriptions of the battles throughout the story, yet it is metaphorical. The idea is that Menelaus is like a beast being so stirred up by the sight of a weaker animal that will serve as food when he is hungry that he rips it apart even though there are distractions all around. This is a good image because it helps to further characterize Menelaus; it effectively reminds the reader that he is so focused on revenge toward...


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