Some of the epithets include "brilliant," "god-like," or "swift-footed" Achilles; Trojans, "breakers of horses"; "glorious" Hector, "Hector of the shining helm"; "resourceful" or "brilliant" Odysseus; "Zeus of the counsels" or "Zeus of the wide brows." These epithets are generally used to fit the meter rather than the mood of the moment. Achilles may be "swift-footed" even while he is sitting and doing nothing; "laughing" might be furious. While the epithets fit the characters and places in general and sometimes fit the moment beautifully, it is important to remember that meter is often the first consideration for these phrases when it comes to specific moments. If the reader attempts to close-read Homer, he must beware of being misled by set phrases chosen to fit the meter. A good example of a potential misread is when Menelaus and Paris prepare to duel over Helen, and the winner will have the faithless Helen as his "beloved" wife. Irony is probably not intended, because "beloved" goes with "wife" (Lattimore 40). Still, at other times the epithets can and do fit the things they describe quite well. While reading, listen for these patterns and set phrases. These epithets and repetitions create a beautiful rhythm that is part of the pleasure of reading Homer.


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