Features of Oral Poetry as shown in The Odyssey
- More than half of The Odyssey consists of lengthy speeches by a single individual. Rapid dialogue sequences would be difficult for the minstrel to recite and confusing to the listening audience (Reinhold page 39). Julie – Can you imagine having to switch voices to pull off a dialog sequence?
- Repetitions of epithets, phrases, incidents. About a third of The Odyssey is repetitious in whole or part. (Reinhold page 39) This device:
- Lessons the labor of the poet
- Helps the audience anticipate what is to come, like recurrent phrases and themes in music, and thus arouses pleasure in rehearsing what is familiar.
- Helps to reinforce and make emphatic material for the listening audience
- Since the poems were never recited in their entirety at one occasion, repetitions refreshed the memory of the minstrel and would not be as noticed.
Reinhold, Meyer. Greek and Roman Classics, 1971, Barrons, New York.