Essay on The Odyssey And Virgil 's The Aeneid

843 Words Oct 5th, 2015 4 Pages
Human agency is demonstrated in Homer’s The Odyssey and Virgil’s The Aeneid through the story arcs of the characters of Odysseus and Aeneas. In the Odyssey, although Odysseus’ fate seems to be predetermined by the gods, it is actually influenced entirely by Odysseus’s own choices. In the Aeneid, however, Aeneas does not possess the same free will as Odysseus; his destiny is determined by the will of Zeus. Homer establishes the independence of the choices of mortals over the preordinations of the gods, while Virgil emphasizes the control the gods exercise over the fates of mortals.
In Book V of The Odyssey, Zeus appears to at first show his dominion over the fate of Odysseus, commanding the messenger god Hermes, “Go tell that ringleted nymph it is my will to let that patient man Odysseus go home” (Odyssey, 344). Hermes and Calypso also appear to affirm Zeus’ dominion over fate, Hermes saying to Calypso, “But you know how it is: Zeus has the aegis, and none of us Gods can oppose his will” (Odyssey, 346), and Calypso responding, “But you said it, Hermes: Zeus has the aegis and none of us gods can oppose his will. So all right, he can go, if it’s an order from above” (Odyssey, 347). However, even after receiving these orders from Zeus, Odysseus is still free to stay with Calypso if he so wishes, denying the fate imposed by Zeus. Calypso asks Odysseus,
Do you really want to go home to your beloved country
Right away? Now? Well, you still have my blessings.
But if you had any…

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