This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Compare And Contrast The Portrayal Of The Gods In Virgil's Aeneid And Metamorphoses

2419 words - 10 pages


There is a significant difference in the treatment of the gods in the
Aeneid and the Metamorphoses, even though both authors were writing in
the epic tradition.

Virgil wrote his Aeneid in the last ten years of his life, between
29BC and 19BC, after the Battle of Actium, in 31BC, which was
significant, as it established Octavian as the sole emperor, Augustus,
of Rome. The Aeneid is a celebration of Augustus' achievements and
rejoices in the development of Rome. There is a great sense of
political propaganda, as well as an historical element, as it
illustrates the origins of the Roman people.

In contrast, Ovid conceived a different purpose for his epic. He wrote
fifteen books, compared to Virgil's twelve, with many of his stories
originating from Greek and Roman myth, concerned with the
transformations of shapes, from the creation of the world to Julius
Caesar's death and deification. He focuses on entertaining the reader
in a humorous fashion, and rather than establishing Rome's origins in
history, he is more concerned with establishing his own fame, for the
future ages.

These different backgrounds of the two authors illustrate that they
each had contrasting agendas for their books. Thus, the portrayal of
the gods differs greatly-Virgil's are austere and purposeful, whereas,
Ovid's are humorous, reflecting his neoteric style, and intentionally
different from the Virgilian gods.

Firstly, we must take into consideration that Homer's Iliad and
Odyssey, were the only main models of epic for Virgil and Ovid.

There is a strong element of Homeric influence on the Virgilian gods,
for example, Juno has been likened to the Homeric Hera, as she
portrays many of her characteristics. That is, Juno displays a deep
hatred for the Trojans, due to the judgement of Paris, and her
husband's high regard for the Trojan youth, Ganymede; more
significantly, she dislikes the Trojans because they will destroy her
beloved Carthage. Virgil highlights this resentment, when he describes
Juno hounding Aeneas and his men:

'Aeneas, fugitive, this captain, buffeted cruelly on land as on the
sea by blows from powers of the air-behind them baleful Juno in her
sleepless rage.'[1]

Likewise, Hera despised the Trojans, for example, both she and
Poseidon openly supported the Greek camp, while Zeus had been
distracted from the battlefield; she even seduced the king of the
gods, so that Poseidon could give strength and support to the Greeks,
thus ensuring their victory over the Trojans.[2]

Furthermore, Virgil highlights the Homeric power and dark feeling of
hatred in Juno, when he likens her to Poseidon, when he features in
the Odyssey. That is, Poseidon avidly pursued Odysseus, throughout his
journey back to Ithaca, as he had blinded his son, Polyphemus; for
example, in Book 5, he creates a storm and shipwrecks Odysseus.

Find Another Essay On Compare and Contrast the Portrayal of the Gods in Virgil's Aeneid and Metamorphoses

Promoting Morality in the Aeneid and Metamorphoses

1653 words - 7 pages Promoting Morality in the Aeneid and Metamorphoses   Just as the authors of the Bible use an evocative, almost mythological vehicle to convey covenants and laws that set the moral tone for Hebrew and Christian societies, Latin poets Virgil and Ovid employ a similarly supernatural method to foster their own societal and moral goals in Roman society. Where Virgil's Aeneid depicts Aeneas as the ideal, duty-bound Roman patriarch absent from

Comparison of Suffering in Job and Virgil's "The Aeneid"

981 words - 4 pages The Meaning of Suffering in Job and The AeneidThroughout Virgil's Aeneid and Job from the Old Testament, great obstacles block the paths of the protagonists. Mental and physical, anguish is placed upon Job and Aeneas. Though both men suffer extreme pain, the extent and content of the tribulations are different.Job's suffering is placed upon him without provocation. Aeneas also believes his "pain [is] so great and unmerited!" (Virgil 2.89

The Piety of Aeneas in Virgil's Aeneid

1214 words - 5 pages to the gods, the readiness with which he meets the directives of fate is quite apparent. He recognizes the significance of forces larger than himself and unquestioningly accepts his fate, acting as the vehicle through which fate carries out its historical design. It is clear that Virgil wanted to convey the importance of fate and piety toward the gods in both the time of Aeneas and his own day.One of the main purposes of Virgil's Aeneid was to

Portrayal of Men and Gods in The Iliad - Humanities - Essay

1698 words - 7 pages Jasmine Capila HUM 102W Alessandra Capperdoni The Gods and Men in Homer’s Iliad Homer’s epic The Iliad is centralized around the wrath of Achilles and the events that unfold as a result of his rage. The epic exhibits the human behaviours and tendencies that are reflected in the gods such as the struggle to maintain absolute power and inability to control emotions, but also emphasizes the gods’ view of morality and immortality. Zeus and Apollo

Metamorphoses, Personalities Of The Gods

969 words - 4 pages with her. Hyacinthus, Apollo's close friend, is killed by one of Apollo's discus throws and, again, Apollo tries in vain to save the life of his beloved friend. Ovid's portrayal of the gods in Metamorphoses mirrors the relationships of leaders in society and the various types of personalities found in any given community. Each god is unique and responds to people in a different way than the other gods, allowing them to become archetypes of different behaviors.

Metamorphoses, Personalities Of The Gods

967 words - 4 pages . Hyacinthus, Apollo's close friend, is killed by one of Apollo's discus throws and, again, Apollo tries in vain to save the life of his beloved friend. Ovid's portrayal of the gods in Metamorphoses mirrors the relationships of leaders in society and the various types of personalities found in any given community. Each god is unique and responds to people in a different way than the other gods, allowing them to become archetypes of different behaviors.

Fitful and Changing: Femininity in Virgil's Aeneid

1011 words - 5 pages regarding gender roles. One such representaton is Virgil's epic Aeneid, which contains depictions of women in positions of power, and also characterizes these women as irrational, emotional to the point of hysteria, and consequently, unfit rulers. Historically, much information about the role of women came out of Athens, where women were expected to center their life around oikos, or the 'home', where a woman would cook, manage servents, raise

The Portrayal of Women in the Aeneid

2389 words - 10 pages How much control do women have over their emotions in the Aeneid? In his poem, Virgil frequently shows women in situations where irrational thoughts lead to harmful choices. Specifically, Virgil presents women as being easily influenced by their emotions. Consequently, these characters make decisions that harm both themselves and those around them. Throughout Aeneas’s journey, divinities such as Juno and Venus are seen taking advantage of

The Aeneid: Virgil's Heroic Underworld

3473 words - 14 pages gifts and spoils we receives than the well-being of the men who serve him. These comparisons however, could be simply the personal differences between Aeneas and these other heroes. In order to truly see that the qualities of Aeneas are indeed specific and an important part of Virgil's message about morality we must look at Virgil's underworld, and the people who inhabit it. During the events of book six in the Aeneid, Aeneas travels to the

The Fall of Aeneas at the Conclusion of Virgil's "Aeneid"

1123 words - 4 pages message for the conclusion of the poem.The event that transpires can also be interpreted as a criticism of Rome in Virgil's time. At the completion of the last battle, Aeneas is in a position of power over Turnus, just as Rome was powerful in comparison to surrounding states. Aeneas killing Turnus at his time of weakness represents the actions of Rome. Throughout The Aeneid, descriptions of war are particularly violent and disturbing. Through

In the Time of the Butterflies compare and contrast essay

818 words - 3 pages PAGE In the Time of the Butterflies EssayPolitical oppression can destroy not only a family's sense of independence and success but also a country's sense of independence and success. Unique strengths can be developed and can bring out the best and the worst of an individual amongst difficult and challenging times. Alvarez's organization and development of the historical fiction helps us better understand the Mirabel family's involvement in

Similar Essays

The Role Of The Gods And Fate In Virgil's The Aeneid

1505 words - 6 pages The Role of the Gods and Fate in Virgil's The Aeneid Are the deeds of mortal characters in the Aeneid controlled by the gods or by fate? Aeneas must fulfill the will of the gods, while enduring the wrath of other gods, all the while being a worthy predecessor of Augustus and founder of the Roman people. Of course, the Trojan is successful because he gives himself up to these other obligations, while those who resist the will of the gods

Role Of The Gods In Virgil's The Aeneid

1360 words - 5 pages There are many gods that play a role in the Aeneid. The main ones are Jupiter, king of all deities, Juno the divine antagonist of Aeneas’ destiny and Venus, his mother and his main protector. There are also the lesser gods such as Neptune, Aeolus, and Mercury, who serve as instruments for the main gods to meddle in the events of the story. The interactions between these is clear from book 1 where Juno is fuming because her favoured city

Compare And Contrast The Divine Machinery Of Odyssey And Aeneid

3356 words - 13 pages Compare and Contrast the Divine Machinery of the Odyssey and the Aeneid     The Aeneid is a poem of Fate, which acts as an ever-present determinant, and as such Aeneas is entirely in the hands of destiny. The unerring and inexorable passage of fate, assisted by the Gods' intervention, is impossible to prevent and its path does create many victims along the way, who are expendable for Rome to be created. In the Aeneid, mortals suffer, no

Compare And Contrast The Portrayal Of Landscape In At Least Three War Poems Including “Spring Offensive”

915 words - 4 pages “The soldier” by Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen’s “Spring offensive” and Julian Grenfell’s “Into Battle” are poems with portrayals of the landscapes during war. Each poem uses different literary techniques to express their view on the war. Imagery, oxymoron, emotive language, metaphors, personification and similes are used to portray the landscapes of war. Wilfred Owen uses similes, imagery, oxymoron and emotive language in his poems to portray