Aeneid - The Duty-Bound Aeneas Was a Term Paper

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Aeneid - the Duty-Bound Aeneas

Aeneas was a Trojan prince who fled from the ruins of Troy to look for Italy as his new fatherland. In his voyage, Aeneas shatters the heart of Dido - the Carthaginian queen, pays a visit to the Underworld, and finds Lavinium, a city on the coast of Italy. His mother is the goddess Venus, and he is a descendant of mighty Jove. According to the mythology, the founder of Troy, Dardanus, was one of the many sons of Jupiter, with females other than Hera. The eventual founders of Rome were the descendants of Aeneas. The Aeneid, in its most basic form, is an epic poem that goes beyond glorifying Rome and her father, taking up the superseding theme of duty pertinent to the people in all societies.

Analysis of Aeneas' duty-binding in the Aeneid

Aeneas introduces himself in Virgil's Aeneid as: "I am Aeneas, duty-bound (pius), and known above high air of heaven by my fame" (510-531). The introduction of Aeneas' by himself resounds the self-description given by Homer of Odysseus in his Odyssey: "I am Odysseus... known by everyone for my craftiness, and my fame reaches heaven" (9.19-20). Though the Greek hero is characterized by trickery without shame, this Roman hero is devoted to duty.

Aeneas had a duty to fulfill. He could neither return to Troy, nor could he stay in Carthage with Dido. Having a higher purpose in mind for him, the gods made their decision to make him go to Italy and find Lavinium, which was to lead to the dawn of Rome. Though the duty stood in opposition to the will of Aeneas, but the Aeneid revealed that duty was more vital than one's own wishes. Duty towards Rome was important in particular as Virgil communicated to all with quotations to other events in the Roman history. By laying emphasis on the theme of duty, Virgil made the Aeneid a poem with a message to the warring generals, a poem more than mere glorification.
During his stay at Carthage, Aeneas was adored by Dido, a queen who had vowed chastity after the death of her husband. Due to a misunderstanding, Dido believes Aeneas to be her husband, while Aeneas took himself as a simple honored guest of the Carthaginian Queen. However, Aeneas was chosen for a bigger cause. Chastised by Mercury on the order of Jupiter, Aeneas is given the duty to leave Carthage and find his own city. This duty was to Aeneas and his son. The duty-bound Aeneas justifies his departure in reply to the angry queen who accused him of abandoning her, "I sail for Italy not of my own free will." (Aeneid, Book IV, p. 665, 666). Thus, Aeneas left the comfort of Carthage and sailed for the unknown Italy in obedience to the duty that compelled him to do the same.

Before Aeneas could find the city in Italy he had to visit the Underworld where he discovered the shade of Dido committing suicide after departing from him. Aeneas once again tried to explain that he had to leave her against his will: "The god's commands drove me to do their will, as now they drive me through this world of shades." (Aeneid, Book VI, p. 685), but Dido did not understand the fact of the matter.

On way, Aeneas also met his father, Anchises who showed him all the people like the Gracchi brothers, Julius Caesar, Cato the Censor, and many others who were to dwell in Rome and make it mighty, from the kings of Alba Longa to Augustus, the earliest emperor of the principate. Anchises stressed the magnificence of these people and said, "What glories follow Dardan generations / In after years, and from Italian blood / What famous children in your line will come, / Souls of the….....

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