November 18, 2014
A Lion with His Kill “If a man is compared to great things because of respect, it means nothing, but if it is based from physical truth, it means greatness”-Peter LeeWays 2014. The meaning of this quote is that if you are compared to an eagle or a bear just because you are a king, it doesn’t mean anything. However if it is based from physical attributes such as actions or appearance, it means that you are great. In Greek society being a fighter was important, and being good-looking was important. In The Odyssey by Homer, there are many people who show these characteristics, but few as well as Odysseus. Homer’s use of epic similes to compare Odysseus to a ferocious mountain lion and Nausicaa to a beautiful goddess contributes to the meaning of The Odyssey by revealing that being a great fighter and being attractive are the most important qualities for people to possess in Greek mythology. Although Odysseus is thought of as a great fighter, the real evidence comes from the people who fought with him on the battle filed. This simile that compares Odysseus to a lion is connected to how grand, courageous, and strong Odysseus is, causing many women to fall for him. However he will never fall for anyone but his true love, Penelope. None are more proud of him than his son, and his son takes great joy when the king Menelaus talks of Odysseus: Weak as the doe that beds down her fawns in a mighty lion’s den-her newborn suckling’s-then trails off to the mountain spurs and grassy bends to graze her fill, but back the lion comes from his own lair and the master deals both fawns a ghastly bloody death, just what Odysseus will deal that mob-ghastly death. (135. 374-379)
From this quotation we learn that Odysseus is a ferocious and violent beast, who has no match in combat. It is commonly known that Odysseus is the most perfect and idolized hero in all of Greek mythology. Homer states that Odysseus’ best quality is being skilled in combat many times, including when his nurse talks about him with pride after he kills many men, who says, “How it would have thrilled your heart to see him-splattered with bloody filth, a lion with his kill! (page 456-457). Thus because Odysseus is the greatest hero in Greek mythology, and his best quality is being a great fighter due to the way Homer speaks of him, it concludes that being skilled in the art of war is the greatest quality a man can possess.
Now moving on from what the most important quality is for a man to possess, into what the most important quality is for a woman to possess. This simile depicts how amazing of a girl Nausicaa is, how she’s beautiful, charming, and rich. As she dances down towards a stream, she is compared to the goddess Artemis:
White-armed Nausicaa led their singing, dancing beat…as lithe as Artemis with her arrows striding down from a high peak-Taygetus’ towering ridge or Erymanthus thrilled to race with the wild boar or bounding deer, and nymphs of the hills race with her, daughters of Zeus whose shield is storm and thunder, ranging the