Duty In Virgil's Aeneid

1711 Words 7 Pages
“But though he longs to soften, soothe her sorrow and turn aside her troubles with sweet words, though groaning long and shaken in his mind because of his great love, nevertheless pious Aeneas carries out the gods’ instructions. Now he turns back to his fleet.” (Virgil 94)

Pain often must be endured to complete one’s duty. The quote above from Virgil’s Aeneid describes precisely that. Aeneas suffers as he leaves the woman he loves to fulfill his destiny. The quote is relevant to many people and many texts, including Sophocles’ Oedipus and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Oedipus stays true to his promise to punish King Lauis’ murderer. On the other hand, Ovid holds onto his responsibility as a poet, writing about passion overpowering duty. Aeneas’
…show more content…
He, along with other men, set out to sail to Italy. Due to Juno’s interference, Aeneas and his men stay in Carthage for the winter. There, Queen Dido grows fond of Aeneas, which leads to a relationship. Jupiter worries that Aeneas is dropping his destiny of founding Rome because of his relationship with Dido. After being reminded of his fate, Aeneas makes the painful decision to abide by the gods’ desires. Aeneas tells Dido that he must leave to found Rome, leaving her depressed and angry. Aeneas is obviously in pain, as expressed by, “But though he longs to soften, soothe her sorrow / and turn aside her troubles with sweet words” (Virgil 94). Virgil describes how deeply Aeneas cares for Dido, how much he wants to stay with her; yet, Aeneas must fulfill his …show more content…
Aeneas’ love for his people is more important to him than his happiness. He gives up the woman he loves to help his people. He does not want to leave Dido, who eventually kills herself in her despair. Aeneas, despite his love for Dido, must leave Carthage for the greater good. Aeneas’ troubles relate to the story of Oedipus. Oedipus learns of a prophecy saying that he will kill his father and sleep with his mother. In fear of betraying those he loves, Oedipus flees, feeling that he must protect his family from himself. Many years later, Oedipus becomes King of Thebes. Now, he has a duty to his people, to help them and to lead them. He demonstrates his loyalty when he discovers that the previous king, King Lauis, was murdered. Oedipus is determined to find justice for his people, saying:
Now my curse on the Murderer. Whoever he is, a lone man unknown in his crime or one among many, let that man drag out his life in agony, step by painful step—
I curse myself as well…

Related Documents