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The Aeneid - Summary The Aeneid begins and ends with parallels to the Iliad inviting us to consider Virgils poetry in light of Homers The Aeneid is both a tribute to the Homeric style--by imitating it--and an attempt to better it And perhaps Virgil is not quite being fair to himself when he invites that comparison Virgil does not have the Iliads tragic irony and Aeneas is not as powerful a main character as Achilles But then the Aeneid is not truly a tragedy It is the story of a man who is destined to succeed and its strength lies more in its secondary characters than in the person of Aeneas From the very beginning of the poem when Aeneas flees Troy we sense that he has left part of himself behind there It may be that he will go on to eventually find a new home in Italy but he is not so much moving from one place to another as he is being stretched across the poem and across the seas He does not have the vitality of Odysseus because he is more or less been reluctantly dragged along towards his destiny rather than single-mindedly pursuing it This is why he is so willing to find diversions or temporary homes along the way in Crete Carthage and Sicily--that is until the gods force him to continue on As Aeneas is stretched further his character becomes less consistent and prone to fits of anger cruelty sadness and kindness but not in a particularly coherent fashion--that is these powerful expressions of emotion however well Virgil puts them into words do not really define a personality This is where the personalities of more powerful characters take over Juno Dido and Turnus They all have their homes in the play and their characters are well-defined powerful and consistent -- with the exception of the turnabout in Book XII which prevents Juno and Turnus
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