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Aeneas As A Leader Essay

1385 words - 6 pages

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LEADERSHIP..... What kind of leader is Aeneas?

In Virgil's Aenied, he illustrates the hero and central character, Aeneas, as a man who presents piety and duty. Besides this he is also a leader. This human emotion piety, pietas in Latin, is duty towards family, country, and gods. Aeneas always fulfills his duty to his family, his fated city, and his gods. This piousness is what keeps him going through the grueling journeys and challenges, even when things are not going perfectly. Aeneas' love for his kin is exemplified in his fleeing of falling Troy. He was recalling his story to Dido about how when he realizes that there was no use fighting any longer, and that he must leave Troy; he hurries off to find his family. Aeneas "turn[s] back alone into the city… nothing for it but to run the risks again … comb of all Troy, and put [his] life in danger as before"(975-979 II). His devotion to his wife was worth risking his life in order to bring her to safety. As he frantically searches "in endless quest from door to door"(1001 II) for Creusa, her ghost appeared to him and told to him that she cannot go with him because she was longer living, but to go back to the family and that a special mission is ahead of him. Personal loss is a tragedy that Aeneas must face as he ventures on to reach is fate. His pious personality is the characteristic that saves his family and leads him on his journey to the future founding of Rome. Every battle that Aeneas fights, is a battle fought for his country. Aeneas announces himself to a (supposed) stranger with the words 'I am pius Aeneas. . . carrying with me my gods from Troy across the seas . . .' 22 He is in that passage not so much claiming a moral quality as identifying himself by the achievement for which he was known in legend. (Johnson 1976, 122).

The traditional religious piety of Aeneas is further illustrated in the Aeneid by his frequent and careful acts of ritual observance (a Roman characteristic), 23 and of course (though the poet does not so use the words pius and pietas in the story as to mark this connection) by his obedience to the command from above which is his mission: it is thus a major theme. (Stock 1983,233)

Another major theme is the pietas of Aeneas towards his father, 'comfort in all my cares and trials', whose funeral honors are the subject of the fifth book of the poem and for love of whom ( pietas ) Aeneas braves in the sixth book the terrors of the world below. 24 After saving his father from the fall of Troy he shares with him, until the old man's death, the leadership of the Trojans in their long journeying, and in the course of this it becomes clear that Anchises is a source of encouragement and inspiration to his son in the execution of his mission. (Weinberg 1961,53)

Aeneas' duty to the gods exemplifies his piousness. Through his journeys and challenges, he prays to his gods and asks for blessing. He...

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