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Descent to the Underworld in the Aeneid and the Odyssey

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  • Essay length: 1589 words
  • Submitted: 03/08/2003
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AS and A Level Classics

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Descent to the Underworld in the Aeneid and the Odyssey

I chose to compare the Odyssey written by the Greek poet Homer and the Aeneid by the Roman poet Virgil. I will focus my interest on Book 11 of the Odyssey and Book 6 of the Aeneid, since that is when both of the main characters make an educational visit to the underworld. The description of the underworld created by Homer's wild imagination, inspired Virgil eight centuries later. Virgil's masterpiece was planned as an imitation of Homer's poems, so one automatically starts comparing the creations of the two authors. They were separated by eight centuries and by the cultural differences of their people. These differences are reflected on the structure of their compositions.

At first the reasons for Aeneas's and Odysseus's voyage to the world below seem similar. Both of them want to receive information from the people who have already died. This knowledge is necessary in order for them to continue a successful life in the real world, amongst the real people. Aeneas wants to ask his wise father Anchises for advise about the foundation of a new state - Rome. His father tells him

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