The Organization Of Time In The Odyssey And The Aeneid

Virgil’s The Aeneid is a collection of structures similar to the Epic Exordium, Homeric Epithets, but the movement and organization that time uses to tie them together helps ground the stories as much as possible in the real-world. This is how Homer and Virgil can appeal to their everyday audiences while reading about supernatural elements, such as Gods or powers that are not present in daily life. Both stories are linear in time and can be followed even in flashbacks. This allows ordinary people to understand the story, even if they don’t relate to the magical elements. Both writers refer to nature as a way to mark time. This makes it easy for audience members to understand the story and allows them a simple way to connect with them. It is possible to use nature to reference time passing in a way that readers and listeners can understand. This method of passing time parallels generational passing which by nature is linear. However, both works have unique organization that points out a succession in fame, importance, or relativity. This organizational structure is used by Homer and Virgil to make flashbacks and digressions understandable and to make it easy for listeners and readers to follow the progression of time, personalities and internal struggles. The Aeneid, Odyssey, and Gods can appear surreal to readers.

Homer is a great user of linear time. It is used to condense the three main stories to the Odyssey’s end, when Odysseus goes back to Ithaka. The story begins in mediares. However, much of the action has already happened. Zeus intervenes and orders Odysseus from Calypso to be released. This sets off a first and major string of events. Telemakhos, disguised in mentor Athena, is informed to leave the island to search for his father’s death or whereabouts. Penelope’s battle with the suitors back home, who want to marry her. The final string is not clear because this is a continual event without an inciting event. Homer cleverly organized his work so that the main strings occur in parallel and can converge at their end. A key aspect of linear movement is the ability to jump ahead and back without losing real time. Telemakhos is done with his discourse. Telemakhos accepted a gift option to horses. Homer says that the suitors competed at the discus throw / javelin, on the measured field they used. 4. 654-657). The structure of the story is best when real time is used. Odysseus encounters the Phaeacians for the final time, and then he returns to Ithaka to tell the story. Because Virgil cannot make the most of Aeneas’s different attitudes towards his fate if he jumps around between stories, losing time, or jumping ahead, linear movement is essential in the Aeneid. Virgil has one story to tell, Aeneas. Because of this, Virgil can’t use the other stories. Virgil also uses forward movement of times to quickly include flashbacks from Aeneas that Aeneas recounts during book two. Flashbacks are also linear in time and serve to create a precedent for Aeneas’s journey towards his destiny. Virgil used nighttime to tell readers about a significant inciting event that occurred the night the Trojans brought in their Trojan Horse. You can fly/ Get out of the flames The enemy has walls” (An. 2.296-313). Follow Aeneas as he flees Troy and his broken family. Virgil uses forward action to show Aeneas’s journey as well as his internal progression towards his fate.

Linear motion with time markedly referenced to nature works both well for the authors as it does for the various audience members. The stories should be easy to follow, whether the listener is telling it, retelling it, or reading it. It is important that stories are grounded in reality to be relatable to audiences. There are many amazing elements that they may encounter. Elementes like the one about voyaging across water while a god attempts to delay your progress are likely to be foreign to the average audience. But references to nature like Eos, the goddess sun and dawn, or seasons passing, are not. These marks mark time and are easy to identify. Homer also used it frequently. It is simple to see the movement of time and it allows Homer to add magical elements that aren’t grounded in reality or that can be understood by ordinary people. The rules of epic conventions are the same as those for linear movement. These rules govern events, departures, and other meanings. Steve Nallon’s analysis of the Odyssey, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Odyssey”, suggests that the forward movement can be described as lessons from Gods. Each God has a subtle message. Odysseus must learn the basics of how to leave his war-like nature behind when he leaves Troy and attacks the land of Cicones. Penelope must also learn the rules of Penelope after many interactions. Audiences can see a pattern in the flashbacks and learn from them. Nallon suggests that audience members may be discussing the various meanings or purposes of each lesson.

Linear movement and flashbacks allow for focused storytelling of adventure stories. They can be arranged in parallel or overlapping sequences, with time marked by nature-related references. This allows audiences to relate to each other’s story. These references can be found in both Odyssey and Aeneid. The audience can also identify how the author uses nature. They are able to relate to it and associate it with their daily practices, such as sunrise and sunset telling time. While linear time may not be always marked by the natural world, it would reduce the significance and importance of its presence in the story. Homer emphasizes the fact that nature can present danger to visitors due to monsters. But on one hand, it can provide inspiration, magic, divinity, and divinity. The nature of the world is depicted by both authors as another power, similar to the Gods and storms. It controls characters and events. This is evident in Dido’s and Aeneas’s love story. They are married after a storm forces them into caves. Homer and Virgil are able to show how nature can be a powerful ruler power by illustrating the unpredictable nature of magic events. Both works depict real-life scenes of nature that are relatable and easy to understand, but which may be unfamiliar to some. Homer and Virgil have included many settings, including Calypso’s islands that the audience may not be familiar with. This allows them to create meaning and imaginatively interpret events. Homer & Virgil have utilized forward-moving, nature-marked time to make it easy for their audiences to understand the story’s progression and find meaning in the different settings.

Works cited

Nallon, Steve. Steve Nallon wrote an article about the Odyssey, discussing everything one could ever want to know about it. Ed. Neil Binley. New Time Media. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Wilkie and Brian Hurt. Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey” is a key work of literature in the Western World. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. 5th ed. Vol. 1. Prentice Hall published a book about Upper Saddle River, New Jersey in 2001. Print.


  • rosewebb

    Rose Webb is an educational blogger and volunteer who also studies for a degree in law. She loves to write about her experiences and share her knowledge with others, and is passionate about helping others to achieve their goals.

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