Epic Simile Examples in Literature | Epic simile Importance & Functions

Definition of Epic Simile

An epic simile or a Homeric simile is one of the epics in the narrative poetry. It is a creative device that serves to enrich it. Feature representing simile epic is more complex than ordinary comparison using “like” or “as” that meeting few line or even more span paragraphs. 

It is taken as a figurative way of reporting an object or action that is more detailed and moving well beyond a simple comparison. For instance, it may have many comparisons and vivid images as well as complex descriptions and multiple points that are touched. A prominent example of epic similes is found in the epics of epic poetry, where the exaggerated metaphors contribute to the hero figure and lead to a more ornate narration.

Importance of Epic Simile

Epic similes serve several important functions in literature:Epic similes serve several important functions in literature:

Enhancing Emotional Impact: With the help of epic similes, the narrative becomes multi-dimensional and deeper in emotion, providing epic scope that exceeds just the mere subject-matter. They transmit visual worlds that aid in onboarding the audience into the story at the soul level. Postword by Author Introduction:

Elevating Heroic Stature: An epic simile, employing striking and grand style of comparisons glorifies the character and their exploits remaining highest in the eye of the audience remaining immortal even for the future generation. Such personification is particularly successful in the epic simply because the heroes, much of the time, portray mythological characters.

Providing Decorative Language: The function of the extended simile is as superfluous ornamental language, with both grandeur and wisdom in the form of the Simile. They depict the author’s creativity and expertise in connectiong the abstract with the concrete, creating mimetic and metaphorical similitudes.

Creating Vivid Imagery: Epic simile’s involvement in vividization of scenes and characters on a more detailed level allows the readers to do that as well. These devices that directly touch each of our five senses as well as the imagination of the reader, invoke the story into a captivating and almost unforgettable experience.

Examples of Epic Simile in Literature


“Iliad” by Homer

“As when the shudder of the west wind suddenly rising scatters across the water, and the water darkens beneath it, so darkening were settled the ranks of Achaians and Trojans in the plain.”

In this epic simile, the ranks of soldiers are compared to the darkening water when the west wind blows across it. The comparison emphasizes the vastness and movement of the armies. It creates a sense of impending battle.


“Aeneid” by Virgil

“As when in tumults rise the ignoble crowd, Mad are their motions, and their tongues are loud; And stones and brands in rattling volleys fly, And all the rustic arms that fury can supply: If then some grave and pious man appear, They hush their noise, and lend a listening ear;”

Virgil brings a vivid image of a crowd into the Aeneid depicting the people’s monumental disarrangement. The author compares the mob to moving boulders and heated coins, and also mentions the rustic arms which effectively present the whole scenario of the riotous community.


“Paradise Lost” by John Milton

“His legions, angel forms, who lay entranced, Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks In Vallombrosa, where th’ Etrurian shades High over-arched embower; or scattered sedge Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o’erthrew Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,”

In the poem, Milton weaves an elaborate image adding up to autumn leaves swept up by the wind, which are Lucifer’s legions. This juxtaposition does not only emphasize the fact that the defeated army might consist of a great number of angels but also can be interpreted as a sign of the fallen state as well as the weakness of the angels.


“Inferno” by Dante Alighieri

“As in the autumn-time the leaves fall off, First one and then another, till the branch Unto the earth surrenders all its spoils;”

In Canto II of the Inferno, the author adopts the use of an epic simile for the depiction of the zigzagging fall of the souls into the second circle of Hell. The allusion to a dried-up autumn leaf represents an inescapable destiny of people being made more and more naughty in their actions.



“Their ocean-keel boarding, they drove through the deep, and Daneland left. A sea-cloth was set, a sail with ropes, firm to the mast; the flood-timbers moaned; nor did wind over billows that wave-swimmer blow across from her course.”

In “Beowulf”, a Hamlet’s voyage in which Beowulf and his warriors are depicted as “wave-swimmer” that propelled by the wind appears; an epic simile is employed. Such wording makes it clear that the ship has many features which prove to be helpful in the event that it is threatened by the rough waves.

Epic Simile Examples in Literature
Epic Simile Examples in Literature

Function of Epic Simile

The function of epic simile, which amounts to indicating a person or a thing in a high-flying manner, is mostly applicable in poetic epic literature. Here are the key functions of epic similes:

Enhancing Imagery: Epic similes sway the reader by adding a tone of exactness and come up with deeper pictures which the mind beholds. Where an epic simile draws a connection between the subject to something more commonplace or abstract, it assist visualization in which readers can better interpret and understand the context. The uncomplicated phrasing of these metaphors appeals to the imagination of the reader and the whole narrative becomes much vivid and lively.

Intensifying Heroic Stature: It is no doubt that epic similes would increase heroes character and the scale of their actions. Through metaphors to powerful, grand, or majestic characters, epic similes show that the heroic traits and magnificent qualities of the characters are extraordinary and natural. This is a method which is most applicable to the epic poetry, in which the lead characters are usually overly superior and big.

Conveying Emotion and Atmosphere: Through epic similes, the scene of the story can be much live and the viewers’ feelings can be beautifully awoken. Throughout this literary device, simile gives the authors the power to draw figure-of-speech comparisons with emotionally charged or aesthetic elements. This can fervently set the mood and tone of a particular scene. They are able to induce feelings of surprise, fear, respect, or may be any other emotions the poet expects the reader to resonate with.

Providing Decorative Language: Through fantastic similes, collocations of adverbial constructions, personified nouns and participial phrases, Homer, the poet, puts in his storytelling additional ornamental language, which provides it with beauty and elegance. They reveal the dramatist’s imagination and talent in skillfully drawing out fascinating and breathtaking images. The application of the epic similes is a creative means through which the writing becomes a powerful vehicle of conveying aesthetic beauty in the piece.

Pacing and Narrative Flow: Various types of similes are employed in accomplishing this task of spacing and movement of the story. By comparing matches that might go over many languages or even paragraphs, the epic simile can bring scenes to a stop, which results in a halt of the action to let the reader reflect or prepare for something.


Epic similes are that feature of narrative poetry that always stands out. Readers, during the process of having an insight into the given epic similes, will be able to get to an understanding of the intricacy of the literary world, as the latter is crafted on the principle of this tool.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *