The Underworld In The Odyssey and The Aeneid

Categories: Odysseus

To get to talk about the underworld we need to understand where it comes from and what exactly this place is. The underworld is associated with the idea of hell. In the myths of some ancient civilizations, the hell was the mysterious and much grim kingdom of the dead. Although commonly thought as the black secret land associated with caves and holes in the world, hell was not always a place of punishment and misery. Afterthought systems presented the idea of the afterlife in which the evil received a punishment, and trouble was where the punishment happened.

A common characteristic of the Underworld includes burning energy or freezing cold, dark (symbolizing the spirit’s unity from brightness, good, and truth), physical pain that symbolizes religious suffering, and devils or demons who torment the damned.

The Underworld is ruled by Hades. The oldest description of this hell can be seen in homer’s Odyssey. In this journey, the Underworld is placed beyond the Western horizon.

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Odysseus hits it by ship from Circe's land, and later, the ghost of these suitors are crowded there by Hermes Psychomompus. He heard them through the hollows of the world, beyond the earth-encircling river Oceanus and the gates of this light to their last resting place at Hades.

Death isn't the most agreeable subject, however for the greeks, it was simply one more piece of the day by day life. They implored the divine beings and performed ceremonies to guarantee the dead made it to the Underworld to rest forever.

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How about we investigate the folklore behind the greek Underworld known as Hades. Nearby this essay, we'll find out about the ruler with a similar name and journey with Odysseus as he leaves the place where there is the living to get his prediction from the dead. Hades, meaning 'the unsee one' in times long past, later got the interpretation of 'knowing all things nobles', as death envelops everything in time. He was portrayed as pitiless, as death feels sorry for nobody, a reasonable allegory for the destiny we as a whole offer. Hades himself assumes a little job in greek folklore, however, his underworld is very much recorded in epic sonnets and myths that we'll see later.

According to Jonathan S. Burgess, locating the epic’s underworld could appear to be a silly task. The journey is vague almost how Odysseus comes to the hell; its frame of Hades is deficient. And Hades is a magical place: how would one find its position? along these lines, those plan on being in the outcome of Odysseus, in any case, how enthusiastic, as often as possible avoid the Underworld. But more since Antiquity have localized this Odyssean hell, or at least its entry. Others forego experience and theorize about the conceptual Cosmograph meant by Odysseus’ travelling to the underworld.

Descent to the Underworld in the Aeneid and the epic, the Odyssey, I chose to analyze the epic published by the Greek writer Homer and the Aeneid by the Italian author Virgil. I will focus my interest on volume 11 of the informative meeting to the underworld. This form of the underworld produced by Homer’s crazy imagination inspired Virgil eight centuries after.

The Aeneid vs The Odyssey

Aeneid and The Odyssey both share some similarities as epics, both depict the trials of the heroic figure who is the perfect examples of one specific society. There are still various pictures in the Aeneid are borrowed from the epic. Yet, reason represent Odysseus and Aeneas then unlike one another. The answer is that writers lived in two different worlds, whose beliefs and perceptions changed greatly of the basic degree.

The history of Aeneas at the hell may be interpreted as a vivid interpretation of the history of Rome's past, present and future.

Odysseus and Aeneas both travel to his Underworld to obtain knowledge. Early Mythological warrior-heroes got there to meet a more specific, real purpose. The atypical uses for these visits of our heroes result to the rational conclusion: since the epic predates the Aeneid and we learn Virgil to have been acquainted with earlier work, it is that Aeneas’ origin to Hades is generally from Odysseus’.

The noteworthy similarity between this hell of Homer's epic and this of Virgil's Aeneid finds, upon closer examination, some critical clashes, these adjustments and amendments by Virgil of the Homeric vision loan confidence to the Bloomian idea of the impact, and present the many-faceted reactions of Virgil to the criticalness of his recognized human. Besides, they offer the audience of these poems with an interesting foundation for comparison, not just between the two poets, but between their characters and poetics words, too.

Also, something that we can find in both epics, the Odyssey and the Aeneid, is that both meet the spirits of those who are dead in the Underworld. For Aeneas, the experience puts his conflict in the environment of all existence, and he starts to realize how his character in the world is connected with past and future as well as to the gods. Or to put that moment somewhat differently, no matter how difficult, how much physical loss is needed, Aeneas eventually knows he will do nothing but struggle ahead to Italy.

The Aeneid reflects the effect that homer’s epic took on Virgil's work. Among the various familiar expressions shared by these two epic poems, each writer’s portrayal of the hell provides an interesting foundation for comparison. Although this resemblance seems remarkable at first, some significant differences can be found upon closer examinations. These conflicts enable the poem’s audience to make the comparison not just between these two poems but between their roles, too namely, Aeneas and Odysseus.

Near the ending of volume 6 of the Aeneid, Aeneas has gotten through this hell, and he’s conversing with his dad Anchises and Aeneas takes Anchises about the underworld- how it runs, and what happens to those people trapped there.

Some of the important epics of European literature include episodes that happen in inferno. In the Italian author Virgil's Latin poem, the Aeneid, Aeneas descent into hell to see his dad’s life. This hell is just vaguely identified, with one unknown line leading to the punishments of Tartarus, while the other trails through Erebus and the Elysian fields.

Evoking feelings and emotions towards the reader.

Both epics deal with sorrow many times. This encounter of Odysseus and his mother, Anticlea, at the underworld in “the journey”, and the encounter of Aeneas and his dad at the underworld in “the Aeneid” are especially poignant. Although these episodes represent a situation that the audience can never be confronted with, these emotions are especially moving because they are indeed real to experience. These deaths of all Elpenor and all Odysseus’ fellows emphasize that decline one must-have in living, and the deaths of Creusa, Palinurus, nisus, Euryalus, and many other Trojans in the Aeneid reveal the difficulty involved in attaining what you want.

Homer’s journey did not reveal the difference between how well and bad people at the hell were treated. Virgil, in contrast, shows the role of the Underworld as a Heaven, related to the Christian idea of paradise. Nevertheless, Homer did graphically depict the penalties that were given down to those people who had hurt Gods, such as tityo’s suffering. Homer’s descriptions evoke sympathy and fear from the reader or observer. Virgil’s translation of the underworld was a creation, and maybe a reflection of how people’s opinion had developed.

One may not see some quality in the journey about the spatiality of Odysseus’ wanderings, real-world or otherworld. These wanderings are said by the character who is constantly missed, and his move to the Underworld episode depends on the messages and magical aid of Circe. As with indications of travelling at the part of wanderings, the knowledge that Odysseus reports about his journey to and backwards from the underworld is meagre and incomplete.

Finally, as a conclusion to the differences and similarities of these authors when it comes to treating the Underworld, each work represents reality at its time, since the main difference as we have already mentioned above is that these two authors are from different times and it is reflected in his works. But which poems have the most relevance to the twenty-first-century audience, Virgil's ‘Aeneid’ or Homer’s ‘Odyssey’? The actual concept that I see to examine both Virgil's ‘Aeneid’ and Homer’s ‘Odyssey’, now demonstrates to me that both epics have contemporary relevance, since they could have been forgotten like many other works and yet they have served as inspiration for modern authors as well as for readers of the modern era. His cross-cutting topics today are the reference of many taboos. Nevertheless, choosing which poem gets the most modern relevance is not Greek mythology, with its Hades, and early strict ideas of an underworld.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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The Underworld In The Odyssey and The Aeneid. (2024, Feb 07). Retrieved from

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