Virgil on War

Topics: Aeneas, Virgil, Troy Pages: 3 (1433 words) Published: April 24, 2014
Virgil opens the Aeneid with the words I sing of arms and of men. The main theme for the plot of Virgil’s poem is made apparent from the very first words for which reason a fair chunk of Virgil's Aeneid is set on the battle field. Because of its violent and gory descriptions of death and its many battles which dominate most of the book it could not be argued that this poem is an anti-war poem. Virgil does not merely use the notion of war to further his plot but deals with many types and aspects of war throughout the poem, mythological wars; recent wars; their effects; their causes; and often we can notice Virgil's own opinion on such a matter, subtly merged into the thick of things. However in contrast to Homer’s Iliad it could be argued that Vigil has actually portrayed war as a negative thing, as he stresses the negative consequences of war, the loss that it entails and moreover talks about it in a way which does not promote the heroism that we see in other epic poems. The first example of this negative portrayal of war from Virgil would come from the Aeneid especially in Book X. In this book we witness one concept which the poet commonly addresses, the loss of young men in battle before they have the chance to even reach manhood. An example of this would be the character of Pallas who we see being killed by Turnus in this book, the way that the poets puts this death is that young men try to be heroes after their first taste of battle which often leads to their death. Another example of young men dying in this book would be the character of Lausus whose father was Mezentius. In this book we see how he steps in to help save his father from Aeneas, by acting in this ‘’heroic’’ way he managed to get himself killed at such a young age. From this portrayal of war the readers would see it in a negative light as the reader is able to see the madness that possesses young men during war. The second point to make about Virgil’s portrayal of war would be the way in...
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