Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Homeric Rhetoric

Here is a fun article on rhetoric and figures of speech in Homer- Homer Simpson that is. Here's a brief sample:

In this article, we consider some of the ways in which Homeric rhetoric has traveled from The Odyssey to The Idiocy by way of America's favorite cartoon character...

Homer's Rhetorical Questions

Consider this exchange from a Simpson family symposium:
Mother Simpson: [singing] How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?
Homer: Seven.
Lisa: No, dad, it's a rhetorical question.
Homer: OK, eight.
Lisa: Dad, do you even know what "rhetorical" means?
Homer: Do I know what "rhetorical" means?

In fact, Homeric logic often depends on a rhetorical question for its expression:

Books are useless! I only ever read one book, To Kill A Mockingbird, and it gave me absolutely no insight on how to kill mockingbirds! Sure it taught me not to judge a man by the color of his skin . . . but what good does that do me?


Mike Salter said...

Brilliant link JM, many thanks. I've passed it on to my 12s as they struggle with hypallage, chiasmus, litotes, prosopopoeia and the rest in the wake of the trials...

Anonymous said...


ull lyk it, mr m. icarus joke

sarah s said...

sarah shipley likes this