02 Oct 2009

Essays on The Aeneid

The Aeneid is the story of the survivors of the fall of Troy.  After the great battle, Trojan survivors reportedly escaped to Carthage in the north of Africa.  Aeneas, the name sake of the Aeneid gives us the narrative of the survivor’s attempts to found a new city.  In the Aeneid, Aeneas is shown the future by the famous Oracle, Sibyl of Cumae, where he learns the importance of his mission.  Soon, the Aeneid found a new city, under the leadership of Romulus and Remus who name the city Rome.  From that time, the Aeneid came to be known as the Romans.

Written in the final decades preceding the birth of Christ, The Aeneid is considered to be one of the finest works of the famous author, Virgil.  Virgil is believed to have been born in 70 BCE near Mantua in northern Italy.  Virgil was born of a common farmer, but found favor for his intelligence and was taken into the institutes of higher learning, ending up in Rome by the time he was 30.  During his career, Virgil witnessed the end of the Roman Republic and the birth of the Roman Empire.  Though his work was disrupted on occasion by strife within the Empire, Virgil’s talent found him under the continued favor of Rome’s elite and at least one emperor.

The three main characters in The Aeneid are Aeneas (the hero), Dido (queen of Carthage) and Turnus (the protagonist).  In the story, Aeneas represents calm order as a leader and a respecter of the powerful Gods which rule over the Earth.  Dido and Turnus both introduce the element of tragedy so rich in ancient literature, but each in their own way.  Dido becomes infatuated with Aeneas, rapidly becoming his lover and when he leaves Carthage throws herself upon a funeral-like pyre in her sorrow.  Turnus’ fate hinges upon the fact that for Aeneid’s destiny to be fulfilled, his life must be forfeit.  Turnus is also a contrast to Aeneas, fiery tempered and fierce in battle, which ends up being his downfall.

The Aeneid offers many topics of academic interest and essays.  The Aeneid explores the concepts of the suffering and fate of the Aeneid and the glory of the founding of Rome, establishing the Aeneid (who became known as the Romans) as a people tested by the fires of adversity and blessed by the fortunes of destiny.  The Aeneid was perceived as a legitimization of the power and authority of the Roman emperors and their right to rule over the world.  Comparisons can be drawn between the Roman empire and many of the more recent empires around the world.  In North Korea, for example, the current ruling official is revered by North Koreans in a near god-like manner, much as the Roman emperors during the Roman Empire.  The effects of this deification can be profound upon the society and stand as significant topics of academic and psychological exploration.

The Aeneid stands as a universally recognized epic tale of literary significance.  Viewed as a historical fiction or mythos, The Aeneid has been used by both literary experts and historical researchers as an evidential template for the events between the fall of Troy to the Greeks and the rise of the City of Rome.  Just as the Aeneid had to face the adversities of their displacement, students in today’s academic institutions also face many adversities.  And just as Aeneas learned the value of accepting help when circumstances warranted it, students frequently turn for help when faced with overwhelming obstacles.  Many of these obstacles revolve around one simple fact.  Not everyone writes well.

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