Homer's use of similes in "The Odyssey" creates vivid images in the minds of readers. Although similar in structure to other similes, Homeric, or epic, similes are several lines in length. They usually compare two different objects or beings, with one often being a familiar object and the other an unfamiliar one.
There are numerous similes used throughout "The Odyssey." The following are a few examples.
Describing an army gathering
- "...just as the swarms of thronging bees flow ever anew from a hollow rock; in clusters they fly to the springtime flowers— some flitting here and some there"
- "...as when from a cliff a goatherd sees a cloud coming across the sea driven by the blast of the west wind; as it moves over the sea, it seems blacker than pitch to him even though he is far away, and it brings a great whirlwind. Seeing it he shudders and drives his flock into a cave..."
- "...the East and South Winds battle one another in shaking the deep woods in the ravines of a mountain, beach, ash, and smooth-barked cornel. These whip their sharp-pointed branches against one another with an unbelievable noise and there is a crashing of shattered limbs."
- "...as a fast-moving wave swollen by the wind from beneath the clouds falls upon a swift ship; the whole ship is hidden by the foam; the terrible blast of the wind roars in the sail, and the sailors tremble in fear—for only barely do they escape death"
Describing battles and fighting
- "As when a destructive fire falls upon a thick forest, and the wind whirling it around bears it in all directions, and thickets fall uprooted when they are attached by the force of the flames"