An epic simile may draw parallels between multiple features of a person or circumstance, whereas a conventional simile generally compares just one thing. Homer, for example, presents the six-headed monster Scylla as a fisherman sitting on a rock in Book 12 of the Odyssey. He calls her a woman with three heads, and says that she sits on the shoreline with her other three heads in the water. This is a conventional simile, because it compares only one feature of Scylla to Odysseus's ship - she has three heads.
Homer also uses an epic simile when he describes the war raging inside Penelope's mind. She thinks about how to tell her suitors to go home and not come back, and says that her heart is like to that of any other woman in love. This comparison involves many of the same things that make up any other loving relationship: friendship, compassion, trust, etc. It is an epic simile because it compares multiple features of Penelope's mind to those of any other woman in love.
Epic similes are used frequently by poets to create emotion in their readers by comparing two different but related things or events that convey the sense of greatness or tragedy without being literal copies of each other. They are usually long and complicated sentences that contain several metaphors and similes that work together to create a full picture in the reader's mind.
Epic Metaphor The epic simile below is from Homer's The Odyssey, as translated by Robert Fitzgerald. The analogy is a detailed comparison of how the water drags Odysseus out of the rocks and how a fisherman pulls an octopus out of its cave.
The fish leapt about, trying to escape, but the cord was tied too tight for them to get away. So they made no effort to swim back up into the sunlight but remained beneath the surface, gulping down air while their eyes bulged from their heads and death seemed ready to fall upon them.
Then along came another fisherman with his net, and he threw it over the octopus and pulled it ashore. Just so Odysseus' long-missing friend, Agelaus, found him lying among the surf on the beach at Ithaca. He had been captured by pirates and taken far away from home, but now he was back again.
Similes are useful in poems because they can give insight into the character of someone or something without using actual names. In this case, the poet has created a metaphor to show how easily someone can be fooled into believing something that isn't true. As you read more poems that use similes, you will see how often poets use this literary device to great effect.
A Homeric simile, also known as an epic simile, is a precise comparison in the form of a long simile. They are also significant since the narrator speaks directly to the listener through these similes...
A Homeric (or epic) simile is a lengthy comparison between something weird or unexpected to the audience and something more familiar to them. Homer, for example, likens the Cyclops devouring the soldiers to a "mountain lion devouring its prey, bones and everything."
These comparisons often serve as metaphors for the violence of war. The Trojan War was said to be like a long battle between two armies who knew each other well, so the comparisons are not surprising. But even if you aren't familiar with the details of the Iliad and the Odyssey, they are still interesting to read because of all the different comparisons used by the poets.
There are three things that make up a Homeric simile: the object compared to some thing we know how it works (or doesn't work), the attribute used to describe it, and then the person compared to another known entity. With these three elements, we can compare almost anything to something in order to highlight a point about this thing or someone saying something.
For example, the Iliad describes Achilles' armor when he goes looking for Hector before the Battle of Troy. It says that his armor gleamed like gold or silver, polished by the hands of gods or men. This is a comparison between something we know how it works (polished metal) and something unusual (a dead body).
An epic simile, also known as a Homeric simile, is a lengthy simile that is generally employed in epic poetry to emphasize the heroic grandeur of the topic and to act as ornamentation. The term "epic" here refers to the length of the poem, which typically consists of 10,000 or more lines of verse.
The epic simile is used by many great poets to describe their work or themselves. For example, William Shakespeare often uses an epic simile to show his audience how much he enjoys writing long poems: "To write sonnets is the poet's trade; / But I can tell you it is a very great pleasure mixed with pain." (Sonnet 18) Milton used an epic simile when describing how difficult it was for him to express himself in poetry: "I cannot but remember, who am now about to publish a book of poems, that Mr. Donne said there was no living language enough strong enough to express all one's thoughts." (Preface to Poems)
Miguel de Cervantes uses an epic simile to describe how hard it is to write comedy: "Comedy is even harder than tragedy because you need to make people laugh in a way that isn't cruel or depressing. It requires talent and a lot of effort." (Introduction to Don Quixote)