A comparison between Virgil's hero, Aeneas, and the Homeric heroes, Achilles and Odysseus, brings up the question concerning the relevance of the difference between the Homeric heroes and Aeneas. The differences in the poets' concerns are explained by the fact that Virgil lived many years after Homer, giving Virgil the advantage of a more developed literary and philosophical society than Homer had at his disposal. But the question remains: how are the differences between the Homeric heroes and Aeneas relevant to the epic at large? This question will be answered by first pointing out the differences between Greek and Roman society, then explaining how those differences relate to the heroes of the three epics at hand, and finally explaining how these differences allow Virgil to portray the Roman values and way of life as more structured and oriented towards a greater-good.
The differences in Greek and Roman societies arise primarily because of the different time periods in which they existed. But the geologic characteristics of Greece also played a role in the particularities of Greek society. The Greek peninsula is a mountainous region with neighboring islands that are known for their individualistic nature; in Homer's Odyssey islands are often occupied either by very few people or by people that are socially inept such as cannibals or the Cyclops. The Greek society, which was composed of various individual and independent city-states, followed from its geological surroundings since communication was such a difficult task. The few cultural aspects of life, such as language and religion, were the only things that gave...
... middle of paper ...
... between Aeneas and the Homeric heroes, given an account of the historical and mythological background of Rome and demonstrated that the Roman way of life is necessarily more structured and community oriented than the Homeric Greek way of life. Virgil wrote The Aeneid as an ode to the greatness of Rome, we could imagine that as he wrote it he was in constant competition with Homer because The Aeneid was a proclamation of greatness for the Romans as the Homeric epics were for the Greeks. But Virgil took advantage of the flaws that the Homeric Heroes had and gave the corresponding virtues to Aeneas thus ensuring Aeneas' superiority and consequently Rome's superiority.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: 1996
Virgil. The Aeneid. Translated by Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Vintage Books, 1990.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- A Comparison of the Heroes, Odysseus, Jason and Aeneas Odysseus is unique among epic heroes in that his strength comes not from inhuman powers or exceptional physical ability, but mainly from his mind. Odysseus, regularly uses cunning, guile, and superiority of intellect to overcome obstacles. In this paper I will compare Odysseus to other epic heroes, both in terms of character and in terms of responses to crises, comparing his reactions with those of other heroes placed in similar situations.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1685 words (4.8 pages)
- The Role of Women in Odyssey and The Iliad The Iliad and Odyssey present different ideals of women, and the goddesses, who are presented as ideal women, differ between the two epics. The difference in roles is largely dependent on power, and relations to men, as well as sexual desirability and activity. The goddesses have a major role in both epics as Helpers of men. They have varied reasons for this. One is a maternal instinct. This is displayed in the literal mother-son relationships of Aphrodite and Aeneas, Thetis and Achilles, and the protective instinct that Athene displays in Book 3 of the Iliad when Pandarus arrow shot an arrow at Menelaus and she "took her stand in front and ward... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
3364 words (9.6 pages)
- Comparison of the Greek Religion in the Iliad to Christianity Throughout the Iliad of Homer there can be seen many features of the Greek religion. The features of religion that appear throughout this epic poem are those that existed during the time of Homer. By taking a better look at theses main features it can be seen that they are similar to those of Christianity today. Some of the existing main features of both are the following: the belief in gods or God, prayer, sacrifice, and funeral rites.... [tags: Papers]
1038 words (3 pages)
- Why Agamemnon believe that he has the right to claim Achilles prize and Achilles believe that he has the right to possess his prize. Why Achilles reasoning different from Agamemnon: If you understand the conflict between both men Agamemnon and Achilles you will notice that Agamemnon plunder (Chryesis) was return to her father (Chryses) as a result of the plague Apollo imposed on the Greek because Chryeses the father of Chryesis prayed to Apollo for plague to fall on the Greek as result of Agamemnon not accepting his ransom and threatening to kill him if he ever lay his eyes on him again.... [tags: Iliad, Achilles, Trojan War, Odysseus]
1369 words (3.9 pages)
- Comparing the Leadership Abilities of Odysseus in Odyssey and Aeneas in Aeneid These two heroes have embarked from the same destination but on very different journeys. Whilst they are both Iliadic heroes at the start of their stories, they develop and adapt their manner towards the characteristics required of them to succeed. Before we judge them, it is necessary to determine our definition of a successful leader. A hero from the Iliad must be "a speaker of words and one who is accomplished in action", according to the horseman Phoinix (Iliad.9.413).... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
3499 words (10 pages)
- Comparison of Hector vs. Achilles Since the beginning of time there have always been great heroes in many different societies throughout the world. Heroes have many great qualities and characteristics about them that make the hero unique. Heroes stand out in society though there actions, abilities, and intellectual superiority. In literature, many characters possess these great skills. Many characters in stories want glory, fame, and ultimately to be remembered. These characters are attention grabbers to a reader.... [tags: Achilles, Trojan War, Iliad, Hector]
1404 words (4 pages)
- Odysseus & Aeneas If there is any possibility that a comparison could be made with the famous journeys of Odysseus and Aeneas, it must be known that Aeneas is actually a hero in search of his own soul while Odysseus is a hero trying to find his old life and in a sense, his old soul. The Aeneid is very much of a spiritual quest, which makes it unique in ancient literature and in contrast with the Odyssey. Only Virgil admits to the possibility that a character can change, grow, and develop.... [tags: essays research papers]
1054 words (3 pages)
- “The gods told you to do it, a likely story”: The Curse of Odysseus and Aeneas As a noun, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a curse as “an utterance consigning, or supposed or intended to cosign, (a person or thing) to spiritual and temporal evil, the vengeance of the deity.” As a verb, the OED says, “to utter against (persons or things) words which consign, or are intended or supposed to cosign, them to evil spiritual or temporal, as the wrath of God or the malignity of fate.” For classic heroes Odysseus and Aeneas, their curses were the result of their lack of foresight and selfish behavior towards their host.... [tags: Homer, The Odyssey]
1495 words (4.3 pages)
- Odysseus is often times considered a hero for triumphing, for living through the many challenges that he has to face over the course of The Odyssey. He defeats the mighty cyclops, he braves years away from home fighting one battle after the other and makes it home alive. Many times he has the chance to give in to death, to end his suffering, however he doesn’t take his chance and he continues fighting. He survives. However Homer doesn’t put it in that light, he doesn’t centralize the idea of life in The Odyssey but rather the idea of death, and all that it brings, or fails to bring.... [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, Achilles, Trojan War]
1608 words (4.6 pages)
- Aeneas and His Ghosts The Aeneid Written by Virgil Translation by Fitzgerald I.Pious Aeneas (his background and key characteristics) •Mother is Venus (the Greek Aphrodite) Page 54, Book II, Lines 775-777 “Stepping before me, radiant through the night,My loving mother came: immortal, tall, And lovely as the lords of heaven know her.” •“Favored by Jupiter” Page 164, Book VI, Lines 190-193“… A few Whom a benign Jupiter has loved or whom Fiery heroism has borne to heaven, Sons of gods, could do it…” •Fated oThe gods respect his fate.... [tags: Aeneas Presentation]
1615 words (4.6 pages)
- Comparing the Deceitful Women of Homer's Odyssey and the Bible
- Free Essays on Homer's Odyssey: Book XIX
- tragoed Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex)
- Oedipus the King - The Character Transformations of Oedipus
- Destiny, Fate, Free Will and Choice in Oedipus the King - Fate's Triumph
- The Character of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello