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Present in most epics dreams are used by Homer and Virgil in the Iliad Odyssey and the Aeneid to catalyze action in the plot These epic dreams serve a vital purpose to the bard in his formulation of the epic and to the audience in their understanding of the epic Inspired by gods formulated in the minds of men and acted upon to further the plot these dreams bring about great changes in the course of the epic in which they are contained Using these aspects of dreams to examine the concept of the dream among the early Greeks and Romans we have to rely mainly on the literature that has survived to arrive at any conclusions about their dreams However reliance on literature such as epic poetry presents difficulties Drama and literature are reflections of society but not exact ones Using American television as an example there is very little accuracy in television as a reflection of American society Keeping this tendency for inaccuracy in mind the Greek view of dreams that has developed from the study of dreams in ancient literature is that the dreams present information that otherwise would not be know to both the character and the audience clarify problems and inspire action Robbins 3 In addition to dreams only being reflections of society the characters of ancient literature are warriors kings and gods which tells us very little about the lives of ordinary people In spite of these difficulties dreams in literature do suggest important ideas about the way dreams were conceived by these ancient peoples and they do indicate the intent of the bard when he used them in his poems Robbins 3 Looking at these dreams such as that of Penelope in the Odyssey and Achilles in the Illiad we are led to several conclusions the first is that dreams were perceived as having meaning they were not considered to be nonsensical trivial or just random ideas Second
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