Theme Of Nisus And Euryalus As A Romantic Tragedy In The Aeneid

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The idea of a romantic tragedy pervades the world of music, literature, and cinema. Whether the work is Romeo and Juliet or Titanic, every individual has heard of a romantic tragedy at least once in his or her life. A romantic tragedy that a person may or may not have heard exists in the tale of Nisus and Euryalus in Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid. The romantic involvement of Nisus and Euryalus proves itself to be a debated topic, partly because the majority of readers remain convinced that Nisus and Euryalus simply had a passionate bromance. For example, prominent scholars such as Gordon Duckworth view Nisus’ and Euryalus’ relationship as a close friendship. Other academic experts like Barbara Pavlock and John Makowski see it strictly as a …show more content…
However, it remains evident to many readers that Nisus and Euryalus were, indeed, lovers. Nisus demonstrates his love for Euryalus by cheating so Euryalus can win the foot race. Referencing Nisus’ act of affection, the text says, “But he won’t forget Euryalus, / his great love, never, up from the slime he struggles, / flings himself in Salius’ path to send him spinning, /… as Euryalus flashes past, thanks to his friend / he takes the lead …” (164). Clearly, when an individual loves another, he or she wants the other person to succeed in every aspect of life. A famous illustration of this resides in Suzanne Collins’ novel and movie The Hunger Games when one of the main characters, Peeta, decides to cheat the system by ingesting poisonous berries so he could defeat the creators of the game and allow the one he loved, Katniss, to win. Peeta’s …show more content…
Nevertheless, his does not end in vain. As he takes his last living breath, Nisus “found peace at last” (281). The reader can conclude that Nisus found more contentment in dying with Euryalus by his side than living life without him. There is an old truism that says something along the lines of how the hardest part of losing a loved one is not their departure but learning to live without them. It seems that Nisus could not take that realization. It cannot go without saying that Nisus’ and Euryalus’ final moments more than vaguely resemble the plot of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. When Romeo discovers a seemingly lifeless Juliet, he decides that life is not worth living without Juliet by his side, so he tragically ends his life with a vial of poison. Juliet then wakes up and finds Romeo dead. She initially kisses his lips to try to kill herself from the poison on Romeo’s lips, but when that proves fruitless, she ends her life with a dagger. Just like Nisus, Romeo and Juliet did not wish to live without each other, and it can be assumed that similar to Nisus, Shakespeare’s young lovers found peace from their agonizing struggle with love. This piece of evidence serves as the greatest validation of Nisus’ and Euryalus’ romantic involvement because the unfortunate ending is analogous to a classic romantic

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