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‘There are tears for suffering’ Aeneid 1.462. Show how Virgil conveys the pathos of suffering in the Aeneid. To what extent is a sympathetic vision of life evident in Homer’s Odyssey?

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'There are tears for suffering' Aeneid 1.462. Show how Virgil conveys the pathos of suffering in the Aeneid. To what extent is a sympathetic vision of life evident in Homer's Odyssey? Above all else, the Odyssey is a moral poem, where the guilty are punished and the good are exulted. No loose ends or unfinished business obstruct our certainty that all those involved have received their just deserts. Due to the lack of tragedy in the Odyssey, it was Aristotle that labelled it a 'comedy'. However, the Aeneid is a far more complex arrangement of characters, many of which perish for the glory of Rome to be realised. The constant and unalterable question hanging in the background throughout the poem is whether duty and honour overrides all this tragedy. Is the Roman race really worth all this inflicted pain? The future of the Romans is secured by the end of the Aeneid, and the final scene is representative of the themes of the story as a whole. We are left with an ending that is unsatisfying in the same way that the end of the Odyssey is appealingly simplistic. In the end of the Odyssey is left with the hero returning home to his wife and laying down on the bed together (or a triumphant end to the warring by Athene). But in the Aeneid, we find the man who will found the Roman race ends the story plunging his sword "full into his enemy's breast", an enemy that has just attempted to supplicate to Aeneas. ...read more.


The entirety of Book 4 builds up to the revelation as she shows down Aeneas about his abandonment of her. Her terrible suicide and curse on the Trojans and the line of Aeneas occurs after a long lament of shame ("you have done wrong and it is now coming home to you" A.4.595). She dies at her own hand then, and is unable to take the honourable death she would have had had she led her people to glory. Thus we see her as a shadowy wraith in Book 6 on the "mourning plains" ("their suffering does not leave them even in death" A.6.445), not the "land of joy". If she had remained alive and led her people to their great future awaiting them, then she would not have been imprisoned to this everlasting place of weeping and grief. It is no coincidence that Phaedra is included on the plain with Dido - they were both victims of the frivolous will of Venus. She is described rejoining Sychaeus, poetically because we as readers have come to the stage where we can not take any more suffering on one person. Whilst in the Aeneid there is no one that absolutely deserves his or her death, in the Odyssey there are few characters, if any, that are dealt a judgement they do not deserve. Cause and effect rule the events of the poem. The young sailor Elpenor got too drunk in Book 10, fell off the roof of Circe's house and broke his neck. Whilst it is indeed unfortunate, it was his own fault. ...read more.


and our thoughts return to the Proem ("Can there be so much anger in the hearts of the heavenly gods?" A.1.11). But we still have no answer. The didactic message within the entirety of the Aeneid is that the Romans reading Virgil's work must live up to the sacrifices made in the poem so that Rome might survive. The more pitiable the scene, the more the expectation is on the contemporary reader to be a good Roman citizen to make up for what they suffered ("So heavy was the cost of founding the Roman race" A.1.34). The literary techniques employed by the two poets, Virgil and Homer, include the use of similes at moments of intense drama. These include scenes of pathos and torment and help to magnify our natural pity by appealing to yet another kind of compassion we are prone to, usually our sympathy for animals. Dido's love is frequently referred to that of a "wounded deer", the Ithacan crew's death at the hands of Polyphemus to helpless "puppies". Virgil's most impressive tool in evoking pity though is his reference to the family of the murdered person, and usually to the father/son bond. This is used to great effect in the Pyrrhus and Priam scene in Book 2 ("defiling a father's face" A.2.539) and also the references to Evander when Pallas is killed ("I wish his father were here to see it" A.10.445). Virgil even takes an interlude to tell us of the pain of Evander when he receives the body of his son ("A father should not survive his son" A.11.160). ...read more.

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