In Book II of Homer's Iliad, what are the typical characteristics that you usually find in Homer's epics?
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Book II contains many typical aspects of Homer's epic style. Firstly, this book features conflict between the gods, as they take various sides in the human conflict that is enacted on the fields of Troy. Jove sides with Troy and his wife, Juno, sides with the forces of Agamemnon, and the other gods take various sides accordingly. In this section of his epic classic, Jove tries to intervene and bring victory to Troy by sending a false dream to Agamemnon where he dreams of taking his army out and meeting the Trojans head on by attacking their gate. However, Agamemnon decides to do this but then tests the courage of his men, which they fail, as they gladly run away. It is then that Juno and Athena work together to rally the Greek forces and bring them back together.
In addition to divine involvement in the story, stylistically, this section features Homeric similes, which are similes that are very long and involved, often going on for a number of lines. Note, for example, the following example of a Homeric simile from Book II:
As when the waves run high before the blast of the south wind and break on some lofty headland, dashing against it and buffeting it without ceasing, as the storms from every quarter drive them, even so did the Achaeans rise and hurry in all directions to their ships.
Here the sound made by the Achaeans as they run towards their ships is compared to the sound of mighty waves crashing against a headland. This serves to emphasise the speed of the retreating forces and their lack of courage. Such use of Homeric similes are typical of Homer's work, as their name suggests.
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