This cycle of death, purgation, and rebirth is the general interpretation that many commentators have given to the speech Anchises delivers to his son concerning the souls in Elysium. However, because Virgil is dealing with spiritual concepts that by their very nature do not permit a precise, literal expression, no common agreement exists as to these concepts's exact meanings. They can be stated only in terms of symbols and metaphors that stand for a reality that lies beyond ordinary experience. Within this scheme of redemption, the souls of the very wicked, which have gone to Tartarus — hell's equivalent — have no place, being beyond redemption. Of the souls Aeneas encounters elsewhere in the underworld, such as those in the Fields of Mourning, where he meets Dido, nothing is said. Although Virgil's underworld has an insubstantial, dreamlike quality, it is recognizably a place that is
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This note was uploaded on 11/23/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.