In Virgil’s The Aeneid, there are many parallels found in Homer’s The Odyssey. In each epic, the heroes, Aeneas and Odysseus, are on a journey “home.” Aeneas is on the search of a new home for he and his companions to settle since Troy has been destroyed, Odysseus on the other hand is attempting to return to his home he left years earlier to fight the Trojan War. They both have Gods against them and helping them, both Aeneas and Odysseus are both held back by women, both voluntary and involuntarily, and they both have experiences visiting the Underworld. Despite these similarities, there are differences between the two characters and it reflects their values and the society they live in. Aeneas relies on his strength as a warrior, where as Odysseus uses his deception to survive which reflects how Aeneas is truly Roman is versus Greek.
In Book I, we learn that Aeneas will be facing many obstacles on his journey because Juno (Hera) “in her sleepless rage” does not favor him (1.7). An issue Odysseus also had to deal with. The difference here is, unlike Odysseus who has angered Poseidon by blinding his son, Cyclops, Aeneas has not done anything to provoke this rage. Juno holds a grudge against Paris for not choosing her in a beauty competition against Minerva (Athena) and Venus, “that suffering, still rankled: deep within her, / Hidden away, the judgment Paris gave” (1.39-40). She also knows what is to come of Carthage, “That generations born of Trojan blood [Aeneas] / Would one day overthrow her Tyrian walls,” a city “[Juno] cared more for…/ Than any walled city of the earth” (1.31-32, 24-25). We know that Aeneas is set to build Rome so she will try her hardest to make him fail on his journey. In the case of Odysseus, Athena intercedes on his behalf and aids him in his deception because she favors the kind of man Odysseus is, whereas Aeneas has the help of his mother, Venus. In this way, we see a similarity between Achilles and Aeneas because they both sons of goddesses, and Odysseus is the son of mortals.
The women in The Aeneid and The Odyssey serve as distractions in the men’s mission in going “home.” In The Aeneid, Dido falls in love with Aeneas, through the help of Amor, who was petitioned Venus to “breathe invisible fire into her / And dupe her with your sorcery” (1.939-40). The women sway the men to stay with them for a while, but Dido certainly has a harder time letting Aeneas go. In Book IV, Dido says to Aeneas:
“You even hoped to keep me in the dark
As to this outrage, did you, two-faced man,
And slip away in silence? Can our love
Not hold you.” (4.417-20)
Dido is shattered by the loss of Aeneas, and here she mirrors the feelings Kalypso had when she was forced to release Odysseus from the island. The difference here is that Odysseus does not love Kalypso, but Aeneas responds to Dido’s accusation of slipping off silently, “Your majesty, of what you meant to me. / Never will the memory of Elissa / Stale for me” (4.461-63). Yet the...