The Aeneid Character Analysis

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In Virgil’s The Aeneid, the “hero”, Aeneas, is set with the task of founding Rome. He experiences many trials and tribulations in order to arrive in Latium, but upon his arrival, he and the Trojans are thrown into war against the Latians, resulting in a very long and tedious battle. During this encounter, the listener (or reader) meets both Pallas and Camilla, two minor characters that possess a fearlessness in battle that few would dream of having. These characters are the main subjects of Book XI, where Virgil employs a unique method by pairing Pallas’ funeral with the telling of Camilla and her battle, and finally, ending the book with her death. Camilla, a female warrior, and Pallas, Aeneas’ “foster” son, fight for different sides in the …show more content…
Alternatively stated, Virgil gives the reader a reason to question war by creating two very noble characters and giving them tragic deaths in order to fuel compassion for them in the reader, ultimately causing personal harm to the reader, due to the connection he/she feels to the characters. After Pallas’ funeral, Aeneas decides that Pallas’ body is to be taken back to his father, so he selects certain soldiers to carry him along with “Pallas’ warhorse, Blaze, regalia set aside, / weeping, ambling on, big tears rivering down his face” (XI.104-XI.105). The fact that a horse is sad over the death of his master, who brought him into battle and terror, reveals that there must have been a very kind soul behind the fearlessness that Pallas exhibited in the short time that Virgil let him live. The language Virgil uses is incredibly intense, especially for a horse, who usually wouldn’t be attributed with tears. Virgil emphasizes the tragedy of Pallas’ death with Blaze’s reaction, causes an emotional shock to the reader with the detail in which the sorrow is expressed. This isn’t just sadness, this is “rivering” of tears, bringing the image of huge sorrow and tragedy to the reader that would be difficult with a human, but a horse just makes it all the more rare and horrific. Furthermore, the reader is given even more sorrow when Pallas’ father exclaims, “but I defeated fate, a father doomed to outlive his son” (XI.189). This brings back the idea of pietas, a major Roman idea that would surely appeal to any Roman hearing this story. Evander’s clear misery at outliving his son is exemplified through the simplicity of his speech by making him much more accessible

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