World Literature Assignment Service Essay
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The famous epic poem, The Aeneid is full of early Latin beauty and wonder. The prominent theme fate is brought up frequently; informing the readers throughout the poem that the ending is predestined. Right from the beginning of the poem, Virgil the author of the poem, makes it evident to his audience of how the story is going to end. Some may think that the story is the dimension in regards to the suspense and drive of the plot but that clearly isn’t the case due to the popularity and success of the poem.
Even though it may seem as if the power of the fates controls the destined of the characters and situations within the poem, the varies character’s actions show that the real driving force of the poem is within the emotions seen within the characters, particularly the Goddess Juno. Through the close analysis of the first 60 lines of the poem, it will become more evident that the power of emotions is what drives the plot of this epic piece of literature.
The word fate and the idea of a predestined future come up multiple times within the first 60 lines of The Aeneid. Virgil at the beginning of his work is showing that the fates have a role to play in his poem. It is important to note that the hierarchies of the supernatural forces have fate at the very top of the list. That means that not even Jupiter or Juno, the God, and Goddess of all the Gods of ancient Roman’s religion and mythology, have the power to change the outcome of any situation. In fact, the role of the fates shows more importance in this poem then the protagonist. The first three lines of the poem say “Wars and a man I sing-an exile driven on by fate, he was the first to flee the coast of Troy, destined to reach Lavinian shores and Italian soil.” The readers do not learn of Aeneas’ name until later on into the poem. Rather, Virgil shows Aeneas’ lack of importance as an individual and how the fates take a higher significance in is work. Aeneas’ importance is mainly his connections to the future he holds for the Trojans, which the fates have established for him. As this idea becomes more apparent throughout the poem, the fates implication is recognized as the boundaries for the poem to unfold. Even though the role and importance of the fates are to predestine the storyline within the poem, they still have not been giving the power to drive the plot of the story. The future has been set by the fates but the order and sequences within the middle lay within the hands of Juno’s emotions.
Similar to fates, the theme of responsibility and one’s duties is seen throughout this poem. Within the first 60 lines, Virgil introduces the concept of Aeneas’ devotion through the duties he does for the Gods of Troy, his family, and his descendants. A lot of the conflicts and issues that arise within the poem are due to Aeneas’ sense of duty and responsibility. In fact, Virgil points this out at the beginning of the poem. In line 11 Virgil says “why did she force a man, so famous for his devotion, to brave such rounds of hardship, bear such trails?” The word devotion is used in place of the Latin word “pietas”, which means piety, duty, or loyalty. Virgil is allowing the readers to see the confusion of why the goddess is trying to work against the fates and against a character that she knows will stay loyal to his God’s. A few lines later the reads get the opportunity to see Aeneas’ well-known characteristics of being loyal and devoted take action. In line 43 it says “Now, with the ridge of Sicily barely out of sight, they spread sail for the open sea, their spirits buoyant.” Knowing what he has been asked to do, Aeneas starts his voyage for Italy. Throughout the rest of the poem, the clash, and attacks between these themes and desires come with stronger forces powered by Juno’s built up emotions. However, the driving factor of the plot does not lie in the hands of Aeneas or what the fates hold for him, instead the true driving force is within Juno’s emotions and how she acts upon them.
It’s been established that within the supernatural realm the fates have the overall power to set the end goal but the journey of getting there can be easily manipulated by the God’s. Juno is seen as the antagonist of this story and has a much more significant role to play in this poem than what may be portrayed. The rage and anger that fuels her actions are an important aspect of the story, which may be why Virgil decided to put them near the beginning of his work. One of the reasons Juno is overly upset with Aeneas and the Trojans can be seen from lines 14 to 28. Juno’s favorite city was Carthage; a city she loved “beyond all other lands in the world, even beloved Samos.” The fates ordained the Trojans to eventually “plunder Libya” which is where Carthage was located. Juno’s grieve for her beloved city set a target on any Trojan’s back but Juno’s anger towards Aeneas was far greater for an incident that happened many years prior; the beauty contest she lost against Hera. Juno’s bitterness and rage are brought to life through the writing style of Virgil in the lines 31 to 33 where it says, “no, not even now would the causes of her rage, her bitter sorrows drop from the goddess’ mind. They festered deep within her, called her still.” It’s through this long-festering bitterness deep within Juno that the story continues to hold the reader’s attention and drives the story through the incidents and situations Aeneas finds himself in.
Juno’s rage built within her for many years and is now coming to pass on the Trojans. Virgil’s writing technique helps the readers feel and experience the anger of the rage within in her. Quickly Juno’s bitterness and rage take action right at the beginning of the poem. In line 46 to 48 Juno it says “Defeated, am I? Give up the fight? Powerless now to keep that Trojan king from Italy? Ah, but of course – the fates bar my way.” As Juno sees Aeneas and the rest of his companions sailing happily for Italy Juno’s anger becomes unbearable for her. Through the repetitive question after question, it implicitly comes across as if she’s getting louder and louder as she’s asking herself these questions. The irony of it all is that the answer to everyone one of her questions is yes, and she’s well aware of it. The power of the fates was not seen as an opposite concept to free will. Even though the end has been destined, the Gods have room within the timeframe to determine how the situation comes to end, allowing the characters to freely make decisions on their own. She knows that the fates have it for her to be defeated but yet Virgil still decided to give the character of Juno the power to fuel the plot with her emotions.
The Poem of Aeneid is about Aeneas fulfilling his destiny to set up camp in Italy. The epic poem that Virgil beautifully wrote shows the power of the Roman Gods and how even though the power they possess is mighty, the fate evidently has the last say within it all. Through a close analysis of the first 60 lines of the poem, the true power of the story is well-known. Virgil begins the poem by showing how the role of the fates is more of a framework for the story to take place, rather then what keeps the story going. He continues to show that the protagonist of the story is not enough to keep the poem engaging for the audience. The real influence of this poems drives lies within the bitterness and rage that festers deep within Juno. Without her emotions to fuel the plot, the poem couldn’t have been the world-renowned masterpiece it is known to be today