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In Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey, what simile is used to describe the souls of the...

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amna65 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 14, 2011 at 8:16 AM via web

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In Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey, what simile is used to describe the souls of the dead suitors being taken to Hades?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 14, 2011 at 9:31 AM (Answer #1)

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In Section Twenty-four, of Homer's epic, The Odyssey, which follows Ulysses' and Telemachus' killing of the unethical and immoral suitors who overran Ulysses' home and showed such disrespect toward Penelope (his wife) and his servants, there is a description of how the souls of these dead are transported to Hades by Mercury of Cyllene, and how these souls act. There is nothing noble of these men in life, and in death, the simile that describes them pay them no compliments either.

The souls of the men are described as "whining and gibbering," and are compared to bats hanging from the roof of a large cave. With bats, when one falls from the roof, the other bats squeal. The speaker notes that as the dead suitor's souls are prepared for the afterlife, they "whine and squeal" and then are led down into Hades. The quote is as follows:

Then Mercury of Cyllene summoned the ghosts of the suitors, and in his hand he held the fair golden wand with which he seals men's eyes in sleep or wakes them just as he pleases; with this he roused the ghosts and led them, while they followed whining and gibbering behind him. As bats fly squealing in the hollow of some great cave, when one of them has fallen out of the cluster in which they hang, even so did the ghosts whine and squeal as Mercury the healer of sorrow led them down into the dark abode of death.

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