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The Idea of the Muse in Hesiod and Homer The custom of appealing to the muses at the outset of a work is a curious one by todays standards very few modern authors feel the need to ask a metaphysical being to help them write It is important to understand why the Greek chose to ask for guidance from the muses but it is also important to realize the underlying implications of such an appeal In The Odyssey by Homer and Theogony by Hesiod we see an intriguing dichotomy begin to emerge one marked by a clear distinction between masculinity and femininity Hesiod and Homers respective appeals are quite different and this discrepancy echoes the difference between The Odyssey and Theogony in general To refer to Hesiods call to the muses as an appeal is correct but also misleading It is indeed a request for assistance in the story he wishes to tell but it goes far beyond that drifting in and out of a history of the muses themselves just as Hesiod will later discuss his personal history The appeal to the muses like his works themselves have a peculiar feeling not of poetry removed from the course of history but rather as an intricate exposition of all things grand and small extraordinary and quotidian reveling in their beauty and power but at the same time respecting them His talk of his family echoes this as well although he is primarily concerned with the Gods he is not oblivious to the everyday struggle of those around him Hesiods appeal to the muses is extensive and detail-oriented and he does not ask for help but once a good deal into the work Farewell now children of Zeus and grant me delightful singing He is clearly beneath the Gods and h is prose shows this he uses many phrases to express his inferiority to them referring to the muses as utterly beautiful for ever mighty
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