Writing Assignment – Week 7

Thus far in our reading of the Iliad we have looked closely at rhetorical displays (e.g. lamentation, the embassy). In many ways it is possible to see heroic boasts as yet another type of rhetorical display. In Scroll 13 there are, at least, the two boasts of Idomeneus (13.374-383, 13. 446-45), with a boast of Deiphobos in between (13.413-416), and Menelaos’ boast later on (13.620-639). Using one (or more) of these as a starting point and finding at least one earlier example from the Iliad, craft a well-supported and articulate post of 350-400 words that addresses the following questions: What are the typical features of this kind of rhetorical display? How does boasting play an important role in crafting one’s heroic identity? And finally, in what ways is boasting explicitly connected to other rhetorical displays?
*Please* be sure to respond to and engage with at least one other post (unless you are initial).

NB: Initial posts should be 350-400 words; each reply should be around 100 words.

5 thoughts on “Writing Assignment – Week 7

  1. Nate Contreras

    When analyzing sections from the Iliad to include descriptions of lamentation and embassy, boasting from the characters involved is another common rhetorical component of each section of the books. In recalling from the introduction section of the Iliad, “Sixty percent of the Iliad is speech. Here, too, one can see how a retarding, elaboration strategy becomes multifunctional, providing characterization and interest, color, exploration, and variations in voice and tone (p.45). This leading into the use of several rhetorical statements (statements that are made without an expected answer), just merely highlighting a point to be made that helps with heroic identity establishment. This in combination with boasting, (a statement made with pride or confidence), is a behavior expected out of heroic identity establishment. Idomeneus’s boast to Depïphobos, “Depïphobos, are we to call this a worthy bargain, three men killed for one? It was your self were so boastful” (13.446-13.447), displays both a rhetorical and boasting component as he makes his statement. These rhetorical situations can be found throughout the book thus far. When comparing this boast to a prior boast from another heroic character, we can find other similes in the situation leading up to each boast. An example of this can be identified when Achilles has his first confrontation with Agamemnon. Achilles boasts his thoughts to Agamemnon, thus showing arrogance on Achilles part. “O wrapped in shamelessness, with your mind in forever profit. How shall any one of the Achaians readily obey you either to go on a journey or to fight men strongly in battle? (1.149-151). In each of these boasting examples, there were situational events leading up to each bolstering episode. How (what is said in terms of phasing) each character boasts, helps establish their identity. Achilles and Idomeneus, use factual phases when speaking to their adversary, creating a rhetorical statement. By doing this, they are exhibiting confidence in their statements that could be misinterpreted as arrogance in regards to character establishment. With this a degree of arrogance is to be expected when considering the position of a heroic character.

    1. Brea Marshall

      Great comment. You really molded my perspective about the larger view of the heroic hero. I agree that vaunting shows the heroes as being confident, but they could also be seen as insecure. Idomeneus states “let us no longer stand here talking of these things, like children, for fear some man may arrogantly scold us.” Idomeneus prefers to fight than talk, but why does he vaunt at Othryoneus after he kills him? Is it because Idomeneus does the opposite of what he says and then expects more? Also, he could be trying to trick the Trojans into believing that he’s just as strong as he was before.

      1. Anna Bates

        Brea, I think one reason why Idomeneus’ boast seems strange is because of its use of dark and mocking humor. While the other boasts are similar in that they show the confidence and arrogance of the victorious hero gloating over their successful kill, Idomeneus’ boast includes this and more. To the dead warrior he mocks “I congratulate you beyond all others if it is here that you will bring to pass what you promised to Dardanian Priam . . . we would give you the loveliest of Atreides’ daughters . . . if you joined us and helped us storm the strong-founded city of Ilion” (13.374-80). This mockery and dark humor is important because it makes Idomeneus unusual and memorable, and, therefore, identifies him amongst all the other heroes. In effect, the boasts help to characterize the heroes by giving them a medium of spoken expression that they can infuse with their own unique voice and style.

    2. Brea Marshall

      I was also wondering what the poet’s view of bragging is versus factual evidence. If both Achilleus and Idomeneus brag why is Achilleus seen in a different light than Idomneus?

      1. Nate Contreras

        Hey Brea,

        In regards to Idomeneus, I can only assume the boasting is done in such to correspond with his character description.



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