Aeneas during his “labor of love” (2.881) and “exile” (3.197) demonstrates the Christian virtue of fortitude. Virgil, even though he is a pagan, was called a “naturally Christian spirit”, by Tertullian. He was one of the great writers of the early Christian church. Even Dante, in his “Divine Comedy” has Virgil lead him through the spiritual realm. To be a good Christian, one must have virtues. A virtue helps one “do the good”, and by doing the good one gets closer to heaven.
Aeneas is a virtuous person. A virtuous person is one who is valiant, or manly. Virtue originally comes from the Latin virtutem which means, “moral strength”, and “valor”. Virtues are “firm attitudes”, “stable dispositions”, and “habitual perfections of intellect and will”. Aeneas shows many virtues in the Aeneid, including, “prudence”, “justice”, and “temperance”, but the virtue that I believe that is most prevalent in the Aeneid is fortitude. Fortitude is the Christian virtue that, “ensures firmness in difficulties”, “keeps constancy”, and aids in “overcoming obstacles.
Aeneas exemplifies Fortitude when he is in Troy, and he runs back to save his beloved city from the Greeks, who are wreaking and sacking everything that he ever loved. Priam and Laocoon have just been killed. Who is going to be next? Then, he remembers his duty to save his family from being killed by the hands of Ulysses’s army. Fortitude, in this example, is the moral virtue that enables a person to overcome obstacles.
Aeneas is in the burning, devastated city of Troy (~book 2). He sees his family, friends, and comrades in trouble. Aeneas uses fortitude to go out and fight, gather troops, and protect his family. Aeneas shows fortitude when he tells his tragic tale to Queen Dido. He keeps himself together when he tells her of his ongoing quest. In this instance fortitude is also “keeping constancy”. Aeneas keeps his cool while his city is being attacked by Ulysses’s forces. It takes real guts and fortitude to do what Aeneas did in Troy. Aeneas protects his city, he protects his family, and he protects his people. And yet, after such devastating things happen to him, he is able to tell his story to a stranger, in a strange land.
Aeneas demonstrates fortitude also when he rallies his troops to fight for their homeland and freedom. Aeneas especially demonstrates fortitude in the following excerpt.
“Arms my comrades, / bring me arms! The last light calls the defeated, / Send me back to the Greeks, let me go back / to fight new battles. Not all of us here / will die today without revenge. ” (2:829-834)
Another instance when Aeneas shows fortitude is when the Trojans are on the beach in Sicily. They just held funeral games for Aeneas’s father Anchises, for it was the anniversary of his death. First they had fun and games, and a second later, chaos erupts. Iris through the old woman Beroe sets the ships on fire. Aeneas instead of panicking like the rest of the Trojans, he kept his cool and mage wise...