Stylistic devices used in the Iliad In the epic poem Iliad Homer applies two main stylistic devices, which will be discussed below: epithets and apostrophe that will be analyzed on the example of the character of Aias.
Speaking about epithets, it is essential to mention that these stylistic devices can be called “favorite” tools of Homer. They can be met almost in every passage: “swift-footed Achilleus”, “Hektor of the shining helm”, etc. Homer uses epithets so perfectly that they can be considered as an integral part of characters’ names: “Agamemnon the lord of men”,
“Aias of a great war cry”, Aias son of Telamon. Sometimes epithets are applied for rhyme, but even in this case, their great meaning is perfectly felt. It is a well-known fact that Iliad contains many repeated phrases and many of them are epithets (Shipp).
“Yet if somewhere I could only get some word of Aias of the great war cry, we two might go, and keep the spirit of battle even in the face of divinity, if we might win the body for Pelid Achilleus. It would be out best among evils.” Iliad Ch. 17 101-105. Aias is represented by Homer as a good fighter. However, Homer gives this character his own skills of speaking. When Aias addresses Achiless he applies the stylistic tool of an apostrophe. Aias knows the art of speaking and perfectly applies it in the poem and it seems that Homer presented this character with his best skills of speech.
Having analyzed the main stylistic devices we can make a conclusion that the Iliad is written masterfully and the style used by Homer perfectly fits the main theme of the poem.
The Iliad Full English translation by Samuel Butler
Shipp, G.P. Studies in the Language of Homer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007