Virgil’s Prevailing Hero

Topics: Homer, Odysseus, Iliad Pages: 3 (882 words) Published: April 30, 2012
Virgil’s Prevailing Hero
The heroic characteristics introduced in Virgil’s Aeneid are different in comparison to the Homeric epic characteristics. Unlike Homeric epics the Iliad and the Odyssey, Virgil depicts Aeneas, the Aeneid epic hero, in a modern way, making Aeneas more relatable and better understood by the audience. The three major differences between Virgil’s epic hero, Aeneas, and Homer’s epic heroes, Achilleus and Odysseus, from the Iliad and the Odyssey are the use of inner struggles within the epic hero, the compassion towards personal relationships, and situational self-awareness with oneself and ones fate with the Gods. In the introduction of the epic hero, Virgil stage sets Aeneas in the middle of a storm at sea, created by Juno with the intention of killing Aeneas and his Trojan men. With the rage of the winds and waves destroying seven of the twenty ships, Aeneas expresses a sense of inner struggle through the quote, “Aeneas on the instant felt his knees go numb and slack, and stretched both hands to heaven, groaning out: Triply lucky, all you men to whom death came before your fathers’ eyes below the wall at Troy! Bravest Danaan, Diomedes, why could I not go down when you had wounded me, and lose my life on Ilium’s battlefield?” (Aeneid I. 131-140). From first impression, Aeneas is not considered the conventional epic hero in contrast to the epic heroes depicted through Homeric epics; as one would not recollect Achilleus or Odysseus begging for the oncoming of death due to fear. In the introduction to the Iliad and the Odyssey, both classic heroes are portrayed with an outward appearance of strength and pride, showing no fear against enemies or monsters; they were primarily focused with conquering their external battles. Unlike Aeneas, Achilleus and Odysseus by no means let their terror over-power their mentality. Secondly, Aeneas has a trait of heroism that is absent within Homeric epics, which is having compassion towards his personal...
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