The Poetics of Supplication: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey

Synopsis

In this penetrating and compelling reinterpretation of the Iliad and the Odyssey, Kevin Crotty explores the connection between the "poetic" nature of supplication on the one hand, and, on the other, the importance of supplication in the structure and poetics of the two epics. The suppliant's attempt to rouse pity by calling to mind a vivid sense of grief, he says, is important for an understanding of the poems, which invite their audience to contemplate scenes of past grieving. A poetics of supplication, Crotty asserts, leads irresistibly to a poetics of the Homeric epic.