Ethos In The Aeneid

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Logos v. Mythos As melodramatic as it is to start this paper with “Throughout the course of history…” I find myself doing just that. For it truly is throughout the course of history that the act of storytelling has been practiced. Furthermore, the teachings of philosophy and theology have been practiced throughout the ages. For these reasons, to make the sweeping statement that; storytelling (Mythos) and reason (Logos) have truly affected mankind’s view of history since the beginning of recorded events, may not be so out of place. Many of the authors we studied this year subscribe to a mix of Mythos and Logos in order to convey their message. Virgil’s Aeneid, the author of the Book of Samuel, Dante’s La Divina Commedia, and St. Augustine’s …show more content…
While it is written as though it was fact, it is known that the journey of the hero Aeneas was nonexistent, and the whole of the Trojan War probably never occurred. Yet, both in ancient and modern times, The Aeneid is viewed as an incredibly influential book. This is due to Virgil’s mastery of both Logos and Mythos as ways to instruct his readers. Virgil’s purpose in writing The Aeneid is clear, to instruct all Romans in their behaviors and actions, in order to create a more perfect Roman state. These philosophies of piety, virtue, and honor (Logos) are conveyed to the reader through the character of Aeneas. The reader sees parts of Aeneas in themselves, and strives to be more like the hero. Virgil knew this would be the reaction, and thus wrote accordingly. For example, as Aeneas is struggling with idea of abandoning Dido because it is what the fates have ordered, Virgil writes, “The vision stunned Aeneas, struck him dumb…He burns to flee Carthage; he would quit these pleasant lands, astonished by such warnings, the command of gods” (Aeneid, IV, 373-377). Readers can relate to facing hard choices in their own lives, being tempted by what brings them pleasure versus what the gods would order. By making Aeneas relatable, Virgil was far more likely to convince readers that they too should be pious. If Virgil had simply outlined his beliefs as to what an ideal Roman was, it might have been read and discussed by scholars, but would not have held the same universal appeal. Thus a sort of “Logos through Mythos” style emerged, one that would be used by the other authors as

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