An Appeal to the Muses: Analysis of A Passage from The Iliad

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Question

Assignment:
Conduct a close textual analysis of this passage from Homer's Illiad:
Tell me now, you Muses who have your homes on Olympos.
For you, who are goddesses, are there, and you know all things,
and we have heard only the rumor of it and know nothing.
Who then of those were the chief men and the lords of the DanaƤns?
I could not tell over the multitude of them nor name them,
not if I had ten tongues and ten mouths, not if I had
a voice never to be broken and a heart of bronze within me,
not unless the Muses of Olympia, daughters
of Zeus of the aegis, remembered all those who came beneath Ilion.
I will tell the lords of the ships, and the ships numbers.
--The Iliad, 2.484-493

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In this passage, Homer appeals to the Muses, who lived on Olympus and were goddesses of the arts and sciences, as well as goddesses of poetic inspiration. In this case, they are his inspiration as he recites the epic of The Iliad. In this passage, he is saying that he cannot possibly remember or recount this illustrious epic unless the Muses are there to guide him in his memory.
Homer suggests that the Muses reliable, impartial and objective because they have witnessed, from their home high above on Mount Olympus, the events of the siege of Troy....

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