Aeneid Essay

Aeneid Essay - Professor Boyle ARLT 100g 10/30/07 The...

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Professor Boyle ARLT 100g 10/30/07 The Aeneid The Aeneid is a very complex book. Superficially, the book appears to praise both the image of Rome and its ruler, Augustus. Virgil overtly celebrates the noble lineage of Augustus in the Aeneid and sings praise of his rule. “Caesar Augustus, son of the deified, who shall bring once again an Age of Gold to Latium… He will extend his power… over far territories… At that man’s coming even now the realms of Caspia and Maeotia tremble.” (1) (Virgil 187) However, upon closer analysis, one realizes that despite the apparent praise of Augustus and Rome, the book is actually meant as a severe critique of Roman history and achievements. Virgil was forced to make silent stabs at the image of Rome and the emperor, Augustus, because overt criticism of a leader could easily get one killed. So Virgil instead was forced to achieve his goals effortlessly through candid symbolism and ingenious use of double-meaning. Double meaning appears even before The Aeneid begins with Virgil’s play on the words maro, Roma, amor, and mora. First off, Roma is an anagram of the poets own name, Maro (Publius Vergilius Maro). Furthermore, amor (love) is yet another anagram of the author’s name. Roma, the city and civilization, contains both the world of the individual and amor as well. Also, in the story, the reader sees the amorous relationship between Dido and Aeneas. Most
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importantly, amor creates an obstacle towards the founding of Roma by mora, the Latin word for delay. These words themselves, brought together, give the reader a glimpse of the central plot of the book before they even pick up the book. The first important image of symbolism the reader comes across is in Book one, while Aeneas is marveling at the frescoes in the palace of Dido. Aeneas “halted and tears came. ‘What spot on earth, he said, what region of the earth, is not full of the story of our sorrow?’” (Virgil 20) These images painted on the walls hit Aeneas hard and he is quickly moved to tears. One must notice, however, that the reader does not get a direct image of the frescoes, rather, the reader gets an image of the frescoes through the mind of Aeneas. Thus, this scene not only serves to reiterate the tragedy of the Trojan War, but also gives an introspective look at the character
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Aeneid Essay - Professor Boyle ARLT 100g 10/30/07 The...

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