Aeneid Paper - Tsevdos 1 Evan Tsevdos Prof. McGowan...

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Evan Tsevdos Prof. McGowan November 12, 2009 Traditions of Storytelling Like Father, Like Son: The Significance of Father-son relationship in the Aeneid In both Homer and Virgil’s epic poems, a father’s pietas to his son consists of setting a good example, which allowed the past to continue into the future. Likewise, a son’s pietas to his father was to preserve the family identity, which as demonstrated by Telemachus and Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey , was significant in ancient society. In fact, it was not until Odysseus had returned home that Telemachus finally developed an identity. This father-son relationship recurs throughout Virgil’s Aeneid as demonstrated through the relationships between Anchises-Aeneas-Ascanius, Pallas-Aeneas, Mezentius- Lausus and others. In these father-son relationships both the father and son fulfill their pietas, or devotion and duty to god, country, family and mankind. The significance of father-son relationship in the male-dominated society of Rome cannot be overlooked, as it defined sons reputations by their father’s legacies. The significance of the father-son relationship is developed from the very beginning of the epic, where readers observe similar ancestral obligations between Aeneas and his descendants, the Romans. Juno begins the epic “outraged”( Aeneid. 1.9 [Fagles 47]) at Aeneas primarily because his descendants were “destined to plunder Libya”( Aen. 1. 26[Fagles 48]) or Carthage, Juno’s favorite city. Juno blames Aeneas as if he were responsible for the destruction of Carthage, where in actuality it is his descendants, the Romans who will one day plunder the city. Juno judging Aeneas based on what his descendants will one day do indicates that son’s carry out the tradition of the Tsevdos 1
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father and ancestors, and that there is a bonding relationship between fathers and sons as a whole. The significance of the father-son relationship is found with the character of Laocoon, the priest of Neptune. Aeneas is recounting the tale of the Trojan Horse to Dido, and speaks of how two giant serpents arose from the water as punishment for Laocoon throwing a spear at the Trojan Horse. The snakes: like troops on attack …head[ed] straight for Laocoon-first each serpent seizes one of his small sons, constricting, twisting around him, sinks its fangs in the tortured limbs, and gorges. Next Laocoon rushing quick to the rescue, clutching his sword. ..( Aen. 2. 271-275 [Fagles 82]) Interestingly, the snakes first go for Laocoon’s sons at which point Laocoon “rushe[s]” to rescue his sons by placing his own life in jeopardy in order to preserve the family legacy. All the Trojan men can relate to this father-son relationship, as they must fulfill the same pietas that Laocoon had of setting a good example for his sons so that the past may continue into the future. If Laocoon alone had been eaten the event would instigate
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This note was uploaded on 12/01/2010 for the course ENGLISH 1090 taught by Professor Blake during the Spring '10 term at Fordham.

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Aeneid Paper - Tsevdos 1 Evan Tsevdos Prof. McGowan...

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