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

Virgil’s Aeneid Essay

1466 words - 6 pages

Virgil’s Aeneid

In literature, the feats of a main character are defined by the sacrifices he/she makes with respect to those he/she holds dear. In this way, loved ones are woven into the story to give perspective; they multiply the joys as well as the sorrows, allowing the protagonist to experience a wide range of emotions. In Virgil’s Aeneid, an epic narrative about the legendary founding of Rome, Dido is present to strengthen the character of the protagonist, Aeneas. Many tragedies befall her throughout the work, especially in Book IV, which initially evoke sympathy in the reader. However, upon further inspection, the reader understands the importance of Dido for developing and defining Aeneas’ character, and therefore does not pity her. Nor does the reader condemn Virgil as treating Dido grossly, because he really does care about her as a character, so much so that he consents to allowing her to experience tragedy. Dido’s misfortunes, and the love she inspires in Aeneas, are necessary in order to create an honorable and revered hero as well as a powerful literary work.

Although she is initially presented as a strong and capable ruler of Carthage, Dido’s heart has been wounded in the past. She has built up walls in order to protect herself from further pains. Indeed, she has sworn never to love another man after the death of her husband Sychaeus: “For he who first united me with him took all love out of my life; and so it is he who should keep it close to his heart and guard it even in the grave” (97). She vows to remain loyal to her dead husband by not remarrying. It is in this light that Virgil appears to treat her grossly, because he forces her to break this vow and therefore betray herself and her love. Furthermore, Dido experiences much personal tragedy because her own brother murders her husband. Virgil further creates a tragic situation for Dido; her next misfortune is being struck by Cupid’s arrow, which takes away her rationale and reason, and transforms her into an unruly, helpless woman that is guided by her most carnal desires. What is more, no one is on her side. Her own sister, Anna, betrays her trust by encouraging a union with Aeneas, “And, Dido, only imagine, if you make this splendid marriage, what a great future lies in store for our city and our realm!” (98). This “gave new hope to tempt her wavering intention, and broke down her scruples” (98). The goddesses, Venus and Juno, conspire to pair up Dido and Aeneas by initiating a storm that would corner them into a cave of commitment: “On that day were sown the seeds of suffering and death” (102). Here, Dido unwillingly betrays herself and her vows; this makes the reader feel sorry for her because her character is weakening. Indeed, Dido begins to care less about her city and more about her passion; both Dido and Aeneas become “caught in the snare of shameful passion, with never a thought of their royal duty” (102).

The love affair,...

Find Another Essay On Virgil’s Aeneid

A Lover’s Love: The Emotions and Conflicts of a Love Affair in Boccaccio’s The Decameron and in Virgil’s The Aeneid

1212 words - 5 pages Virgil’s The Aeneid. Ideals of love and admiration also appear in Sappho’s poetry. Love ties people together, both literally and figuratively. These three works show that complexities of opinion and circumstance threaten to tear lovers apart, but love may still endure in the most unlikely ways. Lovers treat love very seriously, intent on permanence and passion; as such, the circumstances which bring lovers together strengthen the bond. In the Aeneid

The Secondariness of Virgilian Epic and Its Unprecedented Originality

1633 words - 7 pages Aeneid mimics aspects from the Odyssey and presents his theory by comparing and contrasting against one another. Franke also argues, Virgil wrote the Aeneid based on historical events designed to explain the creation of the successful Roman Empire and Virgil’s writings have a religious-moral goal dealing with prophecy related to one of Christians (Franke). For understanding the epic poem, it is essential to acknowledge the period

Is Virgils Aenied an anti-war poem?

2381 words - 10 pages Is Virgil’s Aeneid an Anti-War Poem?      Virgil opens the ‘Aeneid’ with the words ARMA virumque cano ( I sing of arms and of men). The central role that war plays in this Roman epic is made apparent from the very first word of the ‘Aeneid’ by the emphatic placing of the word arma at the very beginning of the poem. A fair chunk of Virgil’s ‘Aeneid’ is set on the battle field but its violent and gory descriptions of

Hell in Dante's Divine Comedy

1415 words - 6 pages Hell in the divine Comedy and Aeneid In Dante’s Divine Comedy, Dante incorporates Virgil’s portrayal of Hades (In The Aeneid) into his poem, and similarities between the Inferno and Hades can be drawn, however Dante wasn’t attempting to duplicate Virgil’s works. Although the Hell depicted in Dante’s Inferno is essentially based on the literary construction of the underworld found in Virgil’s Aeneid, in their particulars the two

Divine Comedy - Dante and Virgil's Relationship in Canto XIV of Dante’s Inferno

842 words - 3 pages Dante and Virgil's Relationship in Canto XIV of Dante’s Inferno In Canto XIV of Dante’s Inferno, Virgil describes the statue of the Old Man of Crete. Dante uses the Old Man of Crete as a metaphor for Virgil’s legacy in order to elucidate the nature of Dante’s and Virgil’s relationship. In the beginning of the metaphor, Dante carefully and methodically illustrates the grandeur of the Greek empire and Roman civilization. "[Mount Ida] was

Critical Paper #2

1377 words - 6 pages Virgil’s Aeneid: Duty, Friendship, and Warriorship Virgil’s Aeneid is considered the greatest work in Latin and it is easy to see why. With obvious references to the works of Homer and the desire to be the greatest writer, Virgil used a large portion of his life to create a captivating tale about the founding of Rome. The Aeneid was meant to be the result of a commission by Augustus Caesar to capture his greatest exploits but Virgil refused to

Variations of Hell in Classical Literature

1460 words - 6 pages , Virgil’s The Aeneid, and Dante’s The Inferno all shared the same characteristic of being epic poems and having a Hell or Underworld involved, each book offered different views of what exactly ‘Hell’ was. Homer’s explanation of the Underworld in The Odyssey was described as an immense land of grief and sorrow. Odysseus referred to the residents of the Underworld as, “listless spirits of their ghosts” (Homer 250), and “the nations of the dead

Virgil's Aeneid as Roman Propaganda

2055 words - 8 pages , from Virgil’s account, it would seem to be an important premise of Roman life, particularly in war. Although he has apparently shown a very benevolent aspect of Rome, Virgil contradicts this idea with later examples. Virgil portrays war in a horribly violent light. The Aeneid comprises numerous battle scenes. All of these are described extremely graphically. For example, the death of Priam’s son, Politës, contains this description: "The boy

Comparing the Struggle in Dante’s Inferno and Book VI of The Aeneid

4378 words - 18 pages The Infernal Struggle in Dante’s Inferno and Book VI of The Aeneid Does hell have its own history? For Dante, the structural and thematic history of ‘hell’ in the Inferno begins with the Roman epic tradition and its champion poet, Virgil. By drawing heavily from the characteristics of hell in Book VI of The Aeneid, Dante carries the epic tradition into the medieval world and affirms his indebtedness to Virgil’s poetry. Moreover, Virgil

Analysis of Storytelling: Discovering One's Identity and Purpose in Life

1302 words - 5 pages The role of storytelling is significant since it highlights the personalities and traits specific to important characters. Storytelling can also drive the plot, as seen in Homer’s The Odyssey and Virgil’s The Aeneid. These epics are based on the telling of the protagonist’s journey. However Grendel, written by John Gardner, utilizes storytelling in a different manner. The main character bases his self-understanding off of the storytelling done

Destiny in the Aeneid

563 words - 2 pages golden threads. Fate plays a very large role in Virgil’s epic The Aeneid. Aeneas, the central character, knows from the beginning of his journey that he will ultimately found Rome. This is not to suggest that fate has chosen him in an arbitrary manner. Aeneas is destined to be great because he possesses great attributes.      Fate is a powerful force in the Greek and especially Roman eras, and it is the major theme in Virgil’s Aeneid. He is

Similar Essays

Virgil’s Aeneid Essay

832 words - 4 pages . Augustus very carefully used it to link the leader Aeneas to his own cleverness. Encouraging the reader to look at him as the holy and civic-minded leader. It must be said that Virgil’s attempt to complete Aeneid fell short because he died after fourteen long years of trying to complete it. Augustus found it upon himself to disregard the dead man’s wishing of burning the work instead publishing it for the entire world to read. Virgil’s entire

The Imagery Of Fire In Virgil’s Aeneid

3679 words - 15 pages The Imagery of Fire in Virgil’s Aeneid In discussing fire imagery in the Aeneid I will attempt in the course of this paper to bring in an analytic device to aid in assembling the wide array of symbols into a more uniform set of meaning. Consistently throughout the Aeneid, fire serves to provoke the characters to action. Action which otherwise it is not clear they would enter upon. Fire clears the way for the juggernaut plot to advance. Juno

Love And Duty In Virgil’s Aeneid And Augustine’s Confessions

1626 words - 7 pages In his Confessions, Augustine relates that, in his school years, he was required to read Virgil’s Aeneid. The ill-fated romance of Aeneas and Dido produced such an emotional effect on him. Augustine says that Virgil’s epic caused him to forget his own “wanderings” (Augustine 1116). He wept over Dido’s death, but remained “dry-eyed to [his] own pitiful state” (Augustine 1116 – 7). Augustine later rejects literature and theater because he believes

Ethics, Duty And Sexuality In Book Iv Of Virgil’s Aeneid

3000 words - 12 pages Ethics, Duty and Sexuality in Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid depicts the doomed romance of Aeneas, Trojan refugee and destined father of Rome, and Dido, expatriate Phoenician noble and Queen of Carthage. Called away to Italy by his obligation to the Fates and to his Roman descendants, Aeneas abruptly ends his passionate sexual relationship with Dido. He goes on to defeat the native Latin tribes and founds the