Essay on The Epic Poet By Virgil

1453 Words Oct 9th, 2015 null Page
The epic poet, Virgil, lived through a tumultuous period of Roman history. He watched the Republic transition into the hands of Caesar Augustus and the way society changed along the way. As Rome evolved before his eyes, Virgil did not approve of his people’s newfound lack of religious virtue. Thus, as he constructed The Aeneid, Virgil reinforced the traditional Roman idea that the gods are significant. He accomplished this by giving the gods complete authority over Aeneas, portraying him not as a model Roman hero, but as a passive hero who is dutiful to the gods’ commands. The importance of the gods is apparent from the first few lines of the poem, “On land and sea, divine will – /And Juno’s unforgetting rage – harassed him/… Muses, tell me why” (I.3-8). Virgil himself calls upon the Muses for help, exhibiting his belief of their knowledge and authority. Already, this is demonstrating the powerful dominance the gods have over humans. The “divine will” controls practically all of Aeneas’ actions throughout the entire poem. He is rarely at his own liberty to make decisions without godly interference. Moreover, the gods use Aeneas’ journey as an opportunity to manipulate and control him. They treat Aeneas and other characters as their puppets, leisurely pulling and tangling their strings as they please. That fact proves itself to be a major aspect of Aeneas’ heroic representation. He is naturally reluctant about this mission because he didn’t choose it for himself – the…

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