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Aeneas: a hero, a puppet of the Gods or just a man with a mission? Discuss with reference to Aeneid 1 and 2: -Bola Taiwo.

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Introduction

Aeneas: a hero, a puppet of the Gods or just a man with a mission? Discuss with reference to Aeneid 1 and 2: -Bola Taiwo Virgil portrays Aeneas in many ways. One of the ways he portrays him is as a hero. In the opening scene Aeolus at Junos command has caught Aeneas up in a storm. So immediately we get the picture of the hero at sea, buffeted by weather and impeded by unexpected encounters, this image is a frequent motif in epic poetry. The idea of Aeneas being a hero is further emphasised to me because this scene is reminiscent of "The Odyssey" and Ulysses. Many times Homer depicted him to be in stormy weather, and just like all heroes always survives. As Trojan leader, Aeneas respects prophecy. This would be very important to the audience because all good heroes were very pious men, and Aeneas shows us he is a god-fearing hero, and therefore a good hero. ...read more.

Middle

Book 2. Despite Virgil's depiction of Aeneas as a hero he also makes him out to be the puppet of the god and heavily controlled by their every whim and desire. Juno who has her personal discrepancies with the way things will turn out interferes with Aeneas every step of the way. The opening storm in book 1 is a good example. The ship was tossed around, many were killed. Aeneas was helpless in this situation and was being controlled like a puppet. After the storm his mother Venus begs Jupiter to end his sufferings. The suffering ends momentarily. Whilst in the woods Venus appears to her son and advises him to go and see Dido, he obeys these orders without question further giving the impression of him being bossed around. Venus was worried that the Phoenicians would be bad to her son so sent cupid to inflame Dido's heart for Aeneas. Again Aeneas has no control over this situation, which is surprising because a man should have control over a thing like love rather than it being imposed on him and seemingly forced to love someone. ...read more.

Conclusion

The power fate and sense of duty stands over Aeneas. Aeneas's mission was the will of Jupiter and so this will triumph over the wills of the other Gods. Aeneas' most important task therefore on his mission was to preserve his sanity and his life by subordinating his own desires to the demands of fate and the rules of piety. When we look at this at a first glance we might conclude he is a puppet on a string but I conclude he is a true hero playing his way through life in order to achieve his ultimate goal. Virgil's audience would definitely view him as a hero as they know his fate and they are meant to be a direct testament of his survival. Virgil wrote the Aeneid during the golden age of the Roman empire, he purposed was to write a myth of Rome's origins that would emphasize the grandeur and legitimise the success of the empire. Therefore it makes more sense for Aeneas, person who brought all this about to be a hero on a mission rather than an Olympian Mannequin, this is what I feel Virgil intended. ...read more.

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