Aeneas as a Hero and Leader

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“Immediately Aeneas’ limbs grow weak with cold: he groans, and stretching both hands to the stars cries out in with these words: “O three and four times blessed, you who were permitted to die before the faces of your fathers, beneath the lofty walls of Troy! O Diomedes, bravest of the race of Greeks! Why could I not have perished on the Trojan plain, and have poured out my life at your right hand, where fierce Hector lies by the spear of Achilles, where great Sarpedon, where the river Simois rolls and carries beneath its waves the helmets and shields and brave bodies of men.”

This is Aeneas’ first appearance in the Aeneid, rather pathetic for the main character to be whining at the start . Aeneas and his crew are caught in a storm stirred up against them by the goddess Juno. Aeneas here is expressing more than just dissatisfaction with their present sufferings. It seems to reflect a particularly Homeric ideal of heroism. It is not simply death that he cries out for, but instead a wishful hope for glorious, heroic death in battle. This is the kind of heroism typical of Achilles, who was told that he could choose between a long but dull life, or a glorious but brief life.

In the Aeneid, the ideal Roman hero is depicted in the form of Aeneas. Not only does Aeneas represent the Roman hero, but he also represents what every Roman citizen is called to be in his/her life. Each Roman citizen must posses two major virtues, they must be pious and must remain loyal to the Roman race. In the poem, Aeneas obeys both of these virtues, and must deal with both the rewards and costs of them.

Aeneas is portrayed lesser a hero just to show that he is human, or so I believe, and humans make mistakes. Throughout the poem, Aeneas receives lots of decisions from both of his parents. Then I ask, should the hero not make his own way? In classical literature, there are two kinds of heroes: the hero-hero, and the tragic hero. In the Aeneid, Turnus is the hero-hero, and Aeneas...
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