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Three Struggles Faced in the Aeneid Essay

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Updated: Oct 17th, 2021

The Aeneid is a mythical poem by Virgil. The myth is elaborated with the presence of Gods, the supernatural, and the mortal as characters. The Aeneid is a struggle between the mortal and God in the pursuit of the mortal to set up a newfound land. The struggle becomes intense with the wrath of God on the mortal. Further, the wrath of God itself faces challenges from other Gods who also enter the plot to assist the mortal. In the Aeneid, the anger of the queen of gods, Juno, serves as the basis for struggle throughout the epic.

The following lines suggest that the poem is about struggle and war: I sing of warfare and a man at war. He came to Italy by destiny.

Aeneas struggles to unleash the fury of God. The incidents that depict the struggle are interconnected to the work of the divine, supernatural, and mortal. The incident begins when Juno, the queen of God realizes that Aeneas will one day overthrow her favorite city of Cartheage in his pursuit to set up the newfound land in Rome. The anger of Juno is further increased because of her anger towards the Trojan for not voting her as the most beautiful of Gods. As the Trojans set off to find a newfound land, the first incident that indicates the beginning of struggle is when Aeolus takes the order of Juno and the fleet of Trojan ships is caught in the storm (Book 1).

The meeting of Aeneas with Dido is another point of struggle because Aeneas involves in an emotional and physical relationship with Dido. Though destiny beckons Aeneas in Rome, the emotional relationship holds him back in Cartheage. At this point, Aeneas struggles to cope up with the direction of Jupiter but he continues his mission to set up Rome leaving behind the much worried Dido (Book 3).

The third incident that depicts the intense struggle of Aeneas occurs when the Trojan land on the shores of Latium. Though Aeneas received a warm welcome from the King of Latium, Juno set a new plot to at least delay the setting up of new land. The struggle is evident because the Trojans lose a massive part of their troops when Aeneas is away to set up a stronger troop to fight against the natives (Book 8).

Aeneas struggle in leading the Trojans to found a new city

The struggle of Aeneas begins when he pursues to set a new city in the Trojan ancestral land of Italy. Virgil has inundated the Aeneid with lots of myth and connected the parts of the scattered story from the Iliad and Odyssey. The mission of Aeneas is a predetermined one. Hence the ultimate goal is known to Aeneas and the Trojans. Therefore, the Trojans are required to overcome all forms of hassle to fulfill the predetermined mission to set up the new city of Rome which will later be known as a great civilization around the world.

The struggle of Aeneas and Trojans begins with the interference of the divine. The competition to prove the supremacy among the divine in terms of beauty gets down to the mortal in the form of revenge against the Trojans. In the race to compete with the mortal, the divine anger of Juno forms the main plot for the struggle of Aeneas. However, the struggle of Aeneas bestowed upon by Juno is leveled at every level by Gods and their supporters who favor Aeneas for his good deeds.

Since the destiny of Aeneas is unstoppable, the struggles and sufferings are also inevitable at every turn of events. Though the Trojans muster up the courage to continue their journey to set up Rome, sufferings come their way each time they meet a person or come across an event. There is an absolute struggle for Aeneas because he meets with an untoward incident at every point of the journey.

The intervention of the divine and supernatural is reinforced in the epic by Virgil to keep the interest in the reader and gives continuity until the final destination is reached. This is when misinterpretations are made about the destined land and how fate interferes in leading Aeneas and the Trojans in leading them to the right way.

The divine also guides Aeneas about the supremacy of Romans and asks the Trojans to be well prepared before setting up the new city. Aeneid is a mixture of love, divine, and a curse. The struggle is reinstated in the epic by the curse of the Harpies. Virgil has taken minute details into account by introducing the influence of monsters on the Trojans.

The struggle of Aeneas and the Trojan is further established because now have to overcome the curse of the Harpies to fulfill their mission. The divine intervention on Aeneas is attributed to their prayers. The Trojan’s destiny is again surrounded by struggle when Andromache informs that their shortest way to Italy is fatally hazardous due to the presence of the six-headed monster, Scylla, and the whirlpool Charybdis. Virgil has kept the story going by including supernatural power, the divine, and the monsters that keep a check on the smooth movement of Trojan to establish their destiny.

And at every point in time, the reader is not disappointed because there is a timely intervention of the divine or supernatural power to provide a solution. Hence, the problem of the monster is overcome by the timely guidance of the Gods and strangers who come their way. Even the death of Aeneas father is envisioned to be the work of the divine (Book 3).

In addition to the struggle in their journey, the destiny of Aeneas pours sorrow on him because he is ordered to leave Dido(Book 4). Fate tries Aeneas again when Sibyl asks him to find a golden branch of a tree with a certain condition but the role of supernatural power acts and guides him through the right way (Book 6).

Virgil keeps the reader speculating by infesting the deeds of God. When conditions are favorable for Aeneas to set up the newfound land, divine wrath does not let him have a smooth destiny. This stands testimony to the rivalry between the divine and the mortal (Book 7).

The help of the divine hand is repeated in his struggle to set up Rome when Venus ensures the safety of Aeneas. The story is well balanced at every turn when Aeneas faces trouble. Further, the hands of the supernatural and divine are depicted throughout the story. In the war against Turnus, the river God Tiberinus lends him advice to gather a stronger troop using the enemies of Latinus. The work of Juno is doubted by Venus and this shows how Gods rival among themselves and work towards safeguarding their favorites (Book 8).

The conversion of Trojan ships into sea nymphs is an interesting part of the Aeneid where the work of the divine becomes an extravaganza. The timely intervention of the mother of Gods saves the Trojan ship and the reference to the making of the ship gives additional scope for creative and supernatural thought. The loss of two enthusiastic soldiers is sure to have brought pain to the Trojan camp but Virgil has taken this stand to maintain a lesser pride among the Trojan though they were triumphant initially (Book 9).

The competition, jealousy, pride, and respect of the Gods are evident when Jupiter ensures that no divine help will be lent to any human being in their fight. But this serves as a turning point to the Trojan’s victory (Book 10).

Aeneas’ struggle reaches high and low throughout the Aeneid. Finally, the angry Goddess agrees to settle her fury in favor of Aeneas since she realized her wrath cannot win the battle. This decision is however made on one condition. The struggle of Aeneas is finally settled with the interference of Gods, Juno, and Jupiter who played a vital role in creating and solving the problem respectively and contributes to the core plot of the epic (Book 12).

Struggle between Gods to settle their anger

As mentioned earlier, The Aeneid revolves around the plot deployed by Juno to win over the destiny of Aeneas. The plot however serves as a factor for the Gods to compete with each other in establishing their supremacy. The struggle among Gods to show their power is clear from the following incidents:

In the opening book, Virgil has characterized Juno as a God who pours anger on Aeneas in the form of a strong wind by convincing Aeolus, the God of winds. At this point, Neptune, the God of sea realizes that someone has infiltrated his territory. Therefore Neptune establishes his victory by calming the violent storm.

The competition and fear of Gods are known when Venus is apprehensive about Juno’s tricks in Aeneas’s further journey through the sea. Venus requests the support of Neptune, the God of storms to take care of Aeneas through the voyage. This indicates that there is a balance of fear and safety in the Aeneid where one failure is accompanied by success and vice versa.

The incident also suggests the vanity of God over human beings. The plot is steered by the Gods and Aeneas acts as a character that moves according to God’s wishes (Book 5).

Conclusion

The struggle in the epic poem concludes with the victory of fate. The pre-determined destiny of Aeneas could not be altered either by himself or by divine intervention. The poem illustrates how a person destined to accomplish a task will complete it irrespective of divine or supernatural intervention. Even the thoughts of Aeneas himself could not hold him back from establishing the task of setting up Rome.

Works cited

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