In book 12 of the Odyssey, Circe employs a great deal of verbal irony in the form of overstatement when she addresses Odysseus and his crew after the burial of Elpenor. She has a dramatic manner of speech that seeks to impress her listeners, and though her tone is not at all sarcastic, her hyperbolic word choices intensify the drama of her messages. Here are two examples.
When Circe first greets Odysseus and his men, she addresses them in a complimentary way that some readers may interpret as overblown: "Ah my daring, reckless friends! You who ventured down to the House of Death alive, doomed to die twice over—others die just once." As it is humanly impossible to die twice, Circe chooses to flatter the men by suggesting that they are somehow capable of accomplishing what cannot be done by typical men. If she wanted to speak simply, without overstating the men's courage, she may have said something like "Ah my daring, reckless friends! You risked your lives by doing that."
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