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Homeric VoicesDiscourse, Memory, Gender$
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Elizabeth Minchin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280124

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280124.001.0001

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Linguistic Choices in Homer: Rebukes and Protests

Linguistic Choices in Homer: Rebukes and Protests

(p.145) 6 Linguistic Choices in Homer: Rebukes and Protests
Homeric Voices

Elizabeth Minchin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Rebukes and protests are a useful test of asymmetry in Homeric society. Rebukes appear to reflect social hierarchies that are similar in many respects to hierarchies in our own world: men or gods of higher status address rebukes to men or gods of lower status; women of higher status to women of lower status; older people to their juniors; men to women; gods to mortals. The most vigorous speech form normally used by women is the protest, a reactive mode that makes no claim for power. But speech does not simply reflect status, it also realizes it, in the real world and the world of the imagination. The speech-preferences that Homer attributes to his various characters therefore both reflect and realize their status vis-à-vis others.

Keywords:   rebuke, protest, asymmetry, gods, gender, age-status, speech-preference, mortals

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