Essay Title: 

Animals, Humans, and Poetry

March 16, 2016 | Author: | Posted in history, west european studies

Animals , Humans , and Poetry

In the Iliad and the Odyssey by the famous Greek poet Homer we find multiple references to animals , both domestic and wild . Let us take the cases of a dog , a horse , a pig , a deer , a lion , a wolf or wolves , and other wild animals to see how the people are characterized as similar to these beasts . The link is made on the basis of specific traits of character or nature , which is shared by animals and humans in some situations

For example , in the Iliad there [banner_entry_middle]

are a lot of scenes where the men are fighting or chasing each other . War can be compared to the hunt or chasing in the natural world . No wonder that Greek and Trojan warriors are compared to dogs , lions , deers and so on or to the strong predators and their victims

For example , in the Iliad we observe the scene where Sarpedon scorns Hector of the Trojans : Where has your will to fight gone , Hector You used to say you could hold the city / Without any allies , just yourself / Backed by your brothers and sisters ‘ husbands / I don ‘t see a single one of them now / Who ‘s not cringing like a dog before a lion / The only ones fighting are us , the allies (Iliad 5 .509-15 .97-8 . A dog is known to be a brave domestic animal that is eager to defend its master and is used for hunting . However , a lion is stronger that a dog and in the fighting with this beast a dog risks its life . Then , we may think that the Greeks are compared to lions in their powers and ferocity , while Hector ‘s relatives are compared to dogs being scared by such dangerous enemies

The way how dogs behave at the hunting is also described in relation to men in the following scene when the Trojans attacked Greeks . A dog goes after a wounded fawn a hunter hits / With unerring aim as it jumps from its lair / That was how Antilochus leapt / At you , Melanippus , to strip off your armor (Iliad 21 .607-10 .400 , describes Homer the cruelty with which the Trojan warrior attacked the wounded enemy from the Greek camp

There is one more case , when a person is referred to as a dog for the goal of humiliating this person . To be specific , it is often when the Greeks and the Trojans call each other dogs – to scorn , like , for example , Achilles addresses Hector : Don ‘t whine to me about my parents / You dog (Iliad 22 .382-3 .433 . However , there is one original case , when the Greek warrior Teucer calls the Trojan Hector a mad dog (Iliad 11 .303 .208 . I think the Greek here did not want to say that the Trojan hero is a coward or a second-rated creature . Quite on the opposite , Hector is so skillful in avoiding all the arrows the Greek shoots at him , the Trojan is so unpredictable , like a mad and dangerous dog… [banner_entry_footer]

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