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The Iliad Comparison Paper

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The Iliad Paper

"Polonius, Ð''What do you read my Lord?' Hamlet, Ð''Words, words, words.'" -Shakespeare, Hamlet, II, ii, 193-4. Reading, writing, speaking, these are the things that define our humanity. Without words or the ability of speech we would once again be equal to the animals we preside over. In the scheme of time we have perfected this human ability above all else; we teach it, correct it, and embellish it to no end. Even so stories may be told in many different ways, simply by altering the way we write. The Iliad is written as an original epic written in Greek, by Homer, which has been translated many times over by English novelists so that we too can enjoy this riveting tale of Achilles' rage. Though translating the book is trouble enough as it is, some authors go to the trouble of implementing a rhyme scheme too. The story is changed not only for the writers' pride and sense of self accomplishment, but to help us readers to fully understand what Homer is saying, because none of us could really understand Greek, as close to his thoughts as possible. The two translations analyzed here are The Changes in poetic form, diction, and flow of these two versions make a world of difference when reading these texts, and the beauty of the shows greatly.

In the two versions compared here the first is written in prose, a non-rhyming paragraph style, and the second in a poetic epic form. The first selection of the two is a novel, written out in paragraphs as to give the reader an easy read through of battles, ill-tempered old men, and seemingly unimportant women. Therein lies our problem, The Iliad is not a short story, it is not a quick read to which anyone could simply just put away when finished, this is a work of art. Admittedly it is hard to read about so many deaths in the same way over and over again, and see the same pain, the same agony and despair, without the distraction of pretty words, in a plain novel. Putting this intense story in prose doesn't nearly do it the justice it deserves. Although this tale is interesting enough, being put into epic form seems to put everything in its place. Reading The Iliad as an epic poem brings life to the dull moments, brings life to the empty pages and fills them with words that can amuse, distract, even bewilder.

The way an author chooses to write is also affected by their vocabulary, which brings us to diction. Diction is defined as an author's choice of words to fit their context, also a spoken clarity in which words are easily understood. In our two versions of The Iliad the first has poetic impulse that when the words are spoken, it is given a beautiful sound and rhyme. This diction also works as word choice, and seeing as the epic version is meant to have a certain higher quality of vocabulary that must flow and proceed in a superior

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