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Sample: Epic Simile
following example of an epic simile comes from Homer's The
Odyssey, as translated by Robert Fitzgerald. The simile
is an extended comparison between the way the sea pulls Odysseus
out of the rocks and the way a fisherman pulls an octopus out
of its lair. Note the clever inversions between land-creatures
During his meditation,
a heavy surge was taking him, in fact, straight on the
He [would have] been flayed there, and his bones broken,
had not grey-eyed Athena instructed him: he gripped a rock-ledge
in passing and held on, groaning as the surge went by, to
keep clear of its breaking. Then the backwash hit him,
him under and far out. An octopus, when you drag one from
his chamber, comes up with suckers full of tiny stones:
left the skin of his great hands torn on the rock-ledge as
the wave submerged him. And now at last Odysseus would
perished, battered inhumanly, but he had the gift of self-possession
from grey-eyed Athena.
The Odyssey. Robert Fitzgerald, trans. NY: Doubleday Books,
1963. Book 5, lines 443-57.