The Importance Of Emotions In Virgil's The Aeneid

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If there is anything to learn from Book IV of Virgil’s The Aeneid, it is that one’s emotions are not to be tampered with. Emotions are far more than just simple feelings. For example, an emotional high may send one skipping throughout the halls of a school thinking about that special someone, while a depressing low could result in the contemplation of ending one’s life. To put it simply, emotions are able to dictate the choices we make - for better and for worse. Book IV of The Aeneid illustrates this idea of emotions overpowering morals in numerous ways. The book tells the tale of a crazed queen who lets her feelings for a man lead her spiraling down a dark path - a story that does not stray far from the reality of many. More often than not, …show more content…
According to the article, “Decisions Are Emotional, Not Logical: The Neuroscience Behind Decision Making,” Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist, once conducted research on people who damaged the part of the brain where emotions were generated. Damasio found that the test subjects could not make decisions, no matter how simple. While they were able to think logically on the subject, they were not able to make a final decision without emotions guiding them. So, this explains why queen Dido rampages throughout a city,”aflame...like a Bacchantё” (Virgil 4.390-391). Dido eventually finds Aeneas, verbally attacks him, and even informs him that she wishes he would die at sea (Virgil 4.506-508). It certainly is not right to wish death upon someone, yet her deep, burning emotions lead her to believe it was the right thing to do. With emotions and decisions so intertwined in the brain, her actions throughout that moment and the rest of the book are understandable, though, a bit …show more content…
Many would say that because of that reason, emotions cannot justify ignoring morals, which are more static - but, they are wrong. Unlike morals, emotions build and intensify, like a festering wound. Take a look at Dido, for example. She goes from pleading in tears (Virgil 4.580-583), to praying for death (Virgil 4.598-599), to killing herself (Virgil 4. 882-884) in a span of about a day. These events show that strong feelings can lead to hasty, impulsive decisions - and getting into a stable state of mind is nearly impossible in these moments of powerful emotions. The article, “Jumpers,” by Tad Friend, discusses the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of people who attempted suicide by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge. In the article, one survivor said that after jumping, “[He] instantly realized that everything in [his] life that [he’d] thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped.” Unfortunately, it takes an event like a near death experience to bring some people out of emotional slumps or highs. Sometimes emotions are just too deep to expect people to think logically, or without

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