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Title:Thematic patterns in the "Argonautica" of Apollonius Rhodius: A study in the imagery of similes
Author(s):Broeniman, Clifford Scott
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Newman, John Kevin
Department / Program:Classics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Classical
Abstract:It is the aim of this dissertation to demonstrate how the similes of the Apollonius' Argonautica, which are connected by theme, are meant to be read and understood as a unit. These unified similes-groups reveal thematic patterns which parallel those already developed in the epic narrative. The similes foreshadow events later in the epic and will foreshadow events in the lives of the characters, particularly Jason and Medea, beyond the scope of the Argonautica. Apollonius also has made use of similes which indicate contrasts and comparisons, which are not made explicit in the narrative proper, between the main characters of the epic.
In the second chapter I set forth the ancient evidence for the composition of inter-related similes, primarily the Rhetoric of Aristotle, the Homeric sholiasts and the Homeric poems themselves. The ancient evidence suggests that the connected imagery of related similes was noticed in antiquity. In the Alexandrian period Apollonius has made an even greater use of this function of simile because he was a more selective poet and did not compose an over-abundant amount of similes on any one theme.
In the following six chapters I discuss the following imagery in similes: women, the Olympian gods, stars, trees, and similes which are centered on Heracles and on the fleece. The similes which focus on the life of women reveal a storyline which parallels Medea inside the epic and beyond the limits of the epic. They look ahead to her eventual abandonment by Jason. Those similes centered on the Olympians, when read with other mentions of these gods, suggest the impossibility of love between Jason and Medea, and suggest the metamorphosis which Jason must undergo to accomplish his tasks. The star imagery in similes indicates the destructive nature of the love between Jason and Medea. Tree imagery suggests how violent both Jason and Medea are, and that both are capable of destroying one another. The similes which are applied to the fleece indicate how attractive the fleece is for Jason who is more in love with the fleece than he is with Medea. The last simile applied to the fleece shows the ultimate reality and meaning of that object. Finally the similes applied to Heracles reveal his antithetical nature, and his complete uselessness for this expedition.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Broeniman, Clifford Scott
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9010811
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9010811

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