Classical Literature: Gods and Heroes (The Aeneid (Books 6, 8, 10, 11, 12)…
Classical Literature: Gods and Heroes
The Aeneid (Books 6, 8, 10, 11, 12)
The Higher Powers: Fate and the Gods
'What Fate ordains is rigid and cannot be changed by power of god or prayer of man.'
'What is determined may sometimes be postponed thought not averted'
'The gods are concerned only wit the pursuit of independent purposes of their own'
'For the Roman state the higher powers are a benevolent entity, to which the Roman state has cause to give thanks to'
'Dido and Turnus are thrust by a god into conflict with Fate and broken in the result'
Softness and Severity
The tone of the poem 'leans towards the Iliad in its serious and solemnity.'
'Like the Odyssey, the Aeneid culminates in a hero's triumph and his recovery of power.'
A 'lyric pathos' is used - 'the poem is flooded with a sense of loss.'
Virgil values both the impulse to 'linger compassionately over a man's suffering' and 'the urge to press on with vigour towards manly achievement.'
'The motif of the lost embrace' - with Venus, Creusa and Anchises, signifying a lack of contact
Diachronic history is history as traditionally conceived - 'the narrative of events and changes through time'
Synchronic history is the study of things that change slowly or not at all - the shield of Achilles is synchronic history, timeless feature of human society
The Iliad and Odyssey is a primary epic - 'heroic poetry that grows naturally out of a comparatively primitive society'
The Aeneid is a secondary epic with more morals - 'the product of much more advanced and sophisticated societies'
Aeneas is a new type of hero - 'it is the constant awareness of duty and responsibility that makes Aeneas a new kind of epic hero'
Dido and Creusa
Dido is compared to Calypso, Nausicaa and Hypsipyle in a 'prismatic method'
'The tragic paradox of Dido's lot is that it is her nobility which drags her down'
Creusa contrasts Dido as an image of 'settles, married love, blessed with a son, bringing only peace to Aeneas
The Iliad (Books 1, 9, 12, 19, 22)
'Achilles is too exalted to be passionately interested in possessions', while 'Odysseus, by contrast, is more keenly concerned with possessions'
The Odyssey (Books 5, 9, 12, 22, 23)