Hera

In: English and Literature

Submitted By cstinasimmons
Words 358
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June 7, 2012
Epic Poetry and the Great Goddess Hera
Homer’s work The Iliad is an ideal example of epic poetry. Throughout The Iliad Homer uses Hera, the Queen of the gods and goddesses, to show three major characteristics of Epic Poetry; stock epithets, the supernatural and the use of similes.
The use of stock epithets or descriptive adjectives is the most common characteristic of epic poetry used by Homer. Hera is considered the “white-armed goddess” and “golden-throned”. These epithets describe Hera’s perfect ivory complexion and her role as the “queen of the gods.
The use of supernatural phenomena can be seen on several different occasions throughout Homer’s works, particularly, the goddess Hera interacts with mortals many times. One of the first occasions is the contest between Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera to be awarded the golden apple and to be considered the “fairest” goddess. Paris, the son of the King of Troy is asked to pick the winner, and he chooses Aphrodite. Losing the contest causes Hera to despise the Trojans. A second interaction with a mortal is in the midst of a fight between Achilles, and Agamemnon when Hera comes down to send Athena to stop Achilles from killing Agamemnon. Since Hera hates the Trojans and rather than watch Agamemnon be killed by Achilles she decides to intervene and offer Achilles gifts to calm him down.
In The Iliad Homer finds great use of similes. Homer uses these similes to help the ordinary people of Ancient Greece better understand the characters and events that take place in The Iliad. At one point during the fighting Hera comes down "flying like turtledoves in eagerness to help the Argives". A turtledove represents peace and beauty and referring to Hera as a turtledove shows where her intentions truly lie. Hera is also referred to several times in The Iliad as being “the ox-eyed queen” or being powerful, and…...

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