Rather than isolate Achilles' prayer to Zeus in Book 16 of the "Iliad" from its immediate context, this paper analyzes the passage as an integrated whole. Recent work on the Homeric simile shows that Homer links images by an "associative technique," sometimes in the service of characterization. Additionally, Phillip Stambovsky's study of literary imagery suggests that such imagery often contributes to characterization insofar as it "presentationally depicts" (at a "prediscursive" level of an audience's awareness) important themes of the literary work. I argue that indeed the imagery in the passage of Achilles' prayer dramatizes a great theme connected with his characterization: his indecision between desire for warfare and desire for safety. The elements of the passage repeatedly refigure Achilles' dissonant state of mind. The wolf simile, for example, opposes pure and defiled, to point proleptically to the combat that destroys Patroclus after Achilles dispatches him, the very outcome Achilles wishes to avert through ritual and prayer. The Myrmidon catalogue juxtaposes its first two entries, those of Menesthios and Eudoros, to highlight Eudoros' lack of a human father and alienation from his mother, a scenario which recalls Achilles' experience. Thus the catalogue reconstitutes in a separate fiction Achilles' own personal history in order to expose the sources of conflict there. Finally, the wasp simile, when contextualized according to the characterization of Achilles, also figures oppositions like those Achilles enacts when he urges on the war while at the same time seeking to mitigate its violence. The passage's imagery is itself a vivid narrative depicting Achilles' strenuous attempt to resist the violence of heroic combat as well as his own imminent death within it.

[Footnotes]

[Footnotes]
1
M. Mueller, The Iliad (London, 1986) 51
Nagler, Spontaneity and Tradition: A Study in the Oral Art of Homer (Berkeley, 1974) 135-37.
Moulton, Similes in the Homeric Poems (Hypomnemata 49, Göttingen, 1977)
S. Lonsdale's introduction to Creatures of Speech: Lion, Herding, and Hunting Similes in the Iliad (Beiträge zurAltertumskunde 5, 1990) 1- 10
S. Nimis, Narrative Semiotics in the Epic Tradition: The Simile (Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1987) 1-95
M. W. Edwards, The Iliad: A Commentary, vol. 5: Books 17-20 (Cambridge, 1991) §3, "Similes," 24-41.
2
Phillip Stambovsky, The Depictive Image: Metaphor and Literary Experience (Amherst, 1988) 3.
3
G. S. Kirk, The Songs of Homer (Cambridge, 1962) 78-80.
4
Ibid. 79-80.
5
Ibid. 77.
6
Krischer, Formale Konventionen der Homerischen Epik (Zetemata 56, Munich, 1971).
7
Ibid. 15
8
Ibid. 39-48.
9
N. Austin, "The Function of Digressions in the Iliad, " GRBS 7 (1966) 312
10
M. Baltes, "Zur Eigenart und Funktion von Gleichnissen im 16. Buch der Ilias," AuA 29 (1983) 47.
11
Moulton (above, n. 1) 52-87.
Edwards (above, n. 1) 44-48
n. 58
K. Stanley, The Shield of Homer: Narrative Structure in the Iliad (Princeton, 1993) 6-9
Nimis (above, n. 1) 57
O. Taplin, Homeric Soundings: The Shaping of the Iliad (Oxford, 1992) 18
12
Moulton (above, n. 1)
13
Stambovsky (above, n. 2)
Whitman, Homer and the Heroic Tradition (Cambridge, 1958)
Stambovsky 50-51
128, n. 20.
W. J. T. Mitchell, Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology (Chicago, 1986) 7-46, ch. 1
W. B. Stanford, Greek Metaphor [Oxford, 1936] 118-43
Moulton [above, n. 1] 279-93
Edwards [above, n. 1] 48-53
14
Stambovsky (above, n. 2) 109-10
15
J. Griffin, Homer on Life and Death (Oxford, 1980) 17-18
16
L. Collins, Studies in Characterization in the Iliad (Beiträge zur klassischen Philologie 189, Frankfurt, 1988) 66-67
T. Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction (Minneapolis, 1983) 10-16.
17
"Homer, oral poetry theory, and comparative literature," in Joachim Latacz, ed., Zweihundert Jahre Homer-Forschung: Rückblick und Ausblick (Colloquium Rauricum 2, Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1991) 481.
R. P. Martin, The Language of Heroes: Speech and Performance in the Iliad (Ithaca and London, 1989) 1-10
Taplin (above, n. 11) 44-45
W. R. Johnson, "Information and Form: Homer, Achilles, and Statius," in Steven M. Oberhelman, Van Kelly, and Richard J. Golsan, eds., Epic and Epoch: Essays on the Interpretation and History of a Genre (Lubbock, 1994), esp. 25-32.
18
Od. 9.3-11, 11.333-34 and 373-76
Od. 1.326-27 and 337-40
Od. 17.358-60.
Pl. Ion 535b1-e4
A. B. Lord, The Singer of Tales (Cambridge, 1960) 16-17.
19
A. Ford, Homer: The Poetry of the Past (Ithaca and London, 1992) 126-30
E. J. Bakker, "Discourse and Performance: Involvement, Visualization and 'Presence' in Homeric Poetry," ClAnt 12.1 [1993] 1-29
20
Nimis (above, n. 1) 24.
W. C. Scott, The Oral Nature of the Homeric Simile (Mnemosyne 28, Leiden, 1974)
54, n. 40
61, n. 4.
21
Nimis (above, n. 1) 16-22
22
Nimis (above, n. 1) 25
23
Ibid. 25.
24
R. Janko, The Iliad: A Commentary, vol. 4: Books 13-16 (Cambridge, 1992) 339, 164-7n.
25
A. Schnapp-Gourbeillon, Lions, héros, masques: Les représentations de I'animal chez Homère (Paris, 1981) 50-51.
26
Schnapp-Gourbeillon (above, n. 25) 50.
27
H. Fränkel, Die homerischen Gleichnisse (Göttingen, 1921) 74
Baltes [above, n. 10] 45, n. 48
28
Ibid. 74.
29
Schnapp-Gourbeillon (above, n. 25) 51.
30
Ibid. 52.
31
Janko (above, n. 24) 338, 156-63n.
Stanley (above, n. 11) 169-70
32
ch. 5 of Nature and Culture in the Iliad: The Tragedy of Hector [Chicago, 1975]
Hector (20.407-21).
P. Friedrich, "Defilement and Honor in the Iliad," JIES 1 (1973) 125
33
Priam's ablutions (24.302-305)
Janko's remarks (above, n. 24) 347, 225-7n.
34
Nimis (above, n. 1) 40
35
R. Parker, Miasma (Oxford, 1983) 226-29.
36
Schnapp-Gourbeillon (above, n. 25) 52.
37
R. Scodel, for example, ("The Word of Achilles," CP 84 [1989] 91-99)
38
D. H. Porter, "Violent Juxtaposition in the Similes of the Iliad," CJ 68 (1972) 11-21.
39
Martin (above, n. 17) 72.
40
Iliad 13.131-33
Edwards [above, n. 1] 276, 356-64n.).
41
Stambovsky (above, n. 2) 88
42
Whitman (above, n. 13) 150-52
Moulton (above, n. 1) 33-38.
43
Janko (above, n. 24) 339, 168-97n.
Edwards (above, n. 1) 147-48, 39-49n.
44
M. W. Edwards, "The Structure of Homeric Catalogues," TAPA 110 [1980] 97-98).
J. B. Hainsworth, The Iliad: A Commentary, vol. 3: Books 9-12 [Cambridge, 1993] 326-27, 87-107n.
Zeus' affairs (14.317-27)
Nagler (above, n. 1) 136
n. 9
Janko (above, n. 24) 339-42.
45
S. Lonsdale, Dance and Ritual Play in Greek Religion (Baltimore, 1993) 224-26
46
I. Espermann, Antenor, Theano, Antenoriden [Beiträge zur klassischen Philoogie 120, Meisenheim, 1980] 74-75).
47
Od. 11.241-44.
Stanley (above, n. 11) 314, n. 58
48
Friedrich (above, n. 32) 124
G. Lakoff and M. Turner, More than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor [Chicago and London, 1989] 60)
49
Janko (above, n. 24) 342, 179-92n.
Hes. Th. 444-47
Il. 24.397-98
N. Richardson, The Iliad: A Commentary, vol. 6: Books 21-24 (Cambridge, 1993) 314, 397-8n.
Od. 3.112, and 4.202
Od. 17.315.
R. Finlay, "Patroklos, Achilleus, and Peleus: Fathers and Sons in the liad," CW 73.5 [1980] 267-73
50
Janko (above, n. 24) 34647, 220-32n.
J. Heath, "The Legacy of Peleus: Death and Divine Gifts in the Iliad," Hermes 120 [1992] 389-90
51
Janko (above, n. 24) 347, 225-7n.
52
Edwards [above, n. 1] 333, 389n.
G. Strasburger, Die kleinen Kämpfer der Ilias [Frankfurt, 1954] 27, 83-84
Griffin [above, n. 15] 107-108
53
S. Lowenstam, The Death of Patroclus: A Study in Typology (Konigstein, 1981) 109-10
54
Janko (above, n. 24) 348-49, 233n.
55
J. Griffin, "Homeric Words and Speakers," JHS 106 (1986) 55-56.
James V. Morrison, "The Function and Context of Homeric Prayers: A Narrative Perspective," Hermes 119 (1991) 146.
56
G. S. Kirk, Homer and the Oral Tradition (Cambridge, 1976) 7.
J. Th. Kakridis and S. G. Kapsomenos, "Das Wespengleichnis im P der Ilias," Hermes 88 (1960) 250-53
M. Marcovich, "On the Iliad, XVI, 259-65," AJP 83 (1962) 288-91
Krischer (above, n. 6) 46-47
Janko (above, n. 24) 352, 259-65n.
57
Janko (above, n. 24) 353, 262-5n.
58
Ibid. 352, 259-65n.
60
Marcovich (above, n. 56) 289.
61
Schnapp-Gourbeillon (above, n. 25) 30-31
I. J. F. de Jong, "Fokalisation und die homerischen Gleichnisse," Mnemosyne 38 [1985] 257- 80
62
Moulton (above, n. 1) 80-81
Stanley (above, n. 11) 423, n. 174.
63
Mueller (above, n. 1).
Janko (above, n. 24) 348, 233-48n.
R. J. Rabel, "Chryses and the Opening of the Iliad " AJP 109 (1988) 473-81
Taplin (above, n. 11) 66-73.
S. Scully, "Studies of Narrative and Speech in the Iliad," Arethusa 19 (1986) 144
64
G. Zanker, The Heart of Achilles: Characterization and Personal Ethics in the Iliad (Ann Arbor, 1994) 97-98
Zanker (87-88)
65
Edwards (above, n. 1) 159, 98-100n.
66
Ibid. 158, 95-6n.
Heath (above, n. 50) 396-99
R. Renehan's belief ("The Heldentod in Homer: One Heroic Ideal," CP 82 [1987] 112)
D. Robinson, "Homeric [Unrepresented Characters]: Love of Life and Limbs, and Friendship with One's [Unrepresented Characters]," in E. M. Craik, ed., "Owls to Athena": Essays on Classical Subjects Presented to Sir Kenneth Dover, (Oxford, 1990) 97-108.
67
S. Schein, The Mortal Hero: An Introduction to Homer's Iliad [Berkeley, 1984] 110.
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