"Virgil invites us to see in Aeneas a new Odysseus often in similar situations but in vital ways profoundly different" What do you find to justify this comment, in books 1-6?
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"Virgil invites us to see in Aeneas a new Odysseus often in similar situations but in vital ways profoundly different" What do you find to justify this comment, in books 1-6? Virgil's epic work "The Aeneid" was in part written as a propaganda piece for the emperor of the time Augustus. Which was an attempt to indirectly relate it's hero Aeneas, who in the Aeneid founds Rome and is of divine decent, to Augustus. Therefore to some extent Virgil is creating, in Aeneas, a hero which will please and serve the purpose of propaganda for Augustus. Perhaps Augustus was hoping that Virgil would create a character similar to Odysseus as Odysseus was a mythological character who was greatly admired by the classical world. There is sufficient evidence to say that this statement is correct, Virgil has made Aeneas similar to Odysseus and Aeneas is put into similar situations perhaps to highlight the connection between the two heroes. From the first paragraphs of both "The Aeneid" and "The Odyssey" we are informed that they have both traveled a lot and the theme of journeying is a predominant in both epics as their largest similarity within the overall plot. In "The Aeneid" Aeneas is referred to as "a man much travailed on sea and land" and it eventually takes him seven years to reach his final destination of Italy.
Despite having gods and goddesses against them they also have them behind them helping them on their way. Aeneas is helped and guided by his mother Venus who paves his way to Italy. Aeneas, as the son of Venus, is therefore a demi-god, and therefore greater than any mortal. Odysseus has Athena behind him, helping him in all different types of situations. She helps him because she believes that it's unfair that he is still stranded from after such a long time, she pities him because of this but she also admires the qualities he has shown as an intellectual hero instead of the typical warrior hero. Both of these epic heroes are in charge of a large group of men and have the huge responsibility of making the important decisions for them as well as providing food and shelter, all of the essentials for them. Aeneas is always promoted as being very dutiful, with regards to his men, his family, his people and the gods. He proves this duty to his men in many different ways. Odysseus isn't always so self-less when thinking about his men. A scene in the Odyssey depicts this well. Odysseus hunts for food for himself and his men but instead of sharing it out equally he takes the majority for himself giving us the impression that Odysseus believes himself to be more important and above his men very unlike Aeneas how seems to regard his men as brothers.
He has to encounter all the horrors of the underworld, he cannot pick and choose who he wants to see and who he doesn't want to see. He is in a lot of danger because he has no type of protection there. Aeneas visit is much more testing than Odysseus' and we have a much higher opinion of Aeneas after it as it has proven his strength after upsetting encounters with his friends, Dido and his father. Odysseus visit has a similar effect but nothing in comparison to Aeneas. Comparing both epics and both heroes journey's there are very similar situations that occur. Virgil does appear to have taken some inspiration for the main character of his epic tale from the works of Homer and it would be fair to say that perhaps Aeneas and his encounters were loosely based upon that of Odysseus'. Virgil appears to have taken Odysseus intelligence and ability, his strength as well as some of his flaws, but added a more emotional, caring and considerate side to his hero and created Aeneas. This new hero is more in touch with that of a typical modern day or classical audience because he appears more human and because he more in keeping with the move towards what has been labeled the man for the new millennium, which may mean that Aeneas could be more popular with a modern day audience.
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