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The Aeneid

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Question 1

Aeneas demonstrates incomparable skill as he fights the Greeks. He therefore demonstrates himself as a wonderful worrier. By displaying courage to fight the Greeks, Aeneas demonstrates courage and rare skills at arms that were not common with the Trojans. In their quest to defeat Trojans in war, the Greek aided by their goddess Minerva construct a wooden horse with armed soldiers in its belly. Upon taking the wooden horse to Trojan Temple, the Greek soldiers attack the sleeping Trojan city at night. Aeneas grabs his weapons and urges his comrades to help him fight the Greek. Though Aeneas set his stronghold at King Priam’s palace, the king and his son are killed by Greek soldiers on his very watch.  Filled with rage, Aeneas wants to slay Helen whom he believes is the cause of the King’s death. He is stopped by the shadow of his mother before does this.

In the Aeneas set up, Homeric heroes were considered to be males or females endowed with superhuman abilities. The Homeric heroes could either be mortal or immortal. As perceived from the Aeneid, Aeneas portrays himself as being almost a perfect Roman morality. In the battle field, Aeneas demonstrates incomparable skill as he fights the Greeks. Aeneas also displays great leadership skills when he inspires his comrades to fight the Greeks without loosing heart. When Aeneas bases his stronghold at King Priam’s palace, he displays patriotism for his kingdom. As much as Aeneas seems to be a paragon of virtue in the Aeneid, there is confusion when he attempts to slay Helen to avenge King Priam’s death. It took the intervention of Venus acting as his conscience to realize that this wouldn’t help. Aeneas is therefore not godlike in the portrayed virtues. Instead, he has earned his virtues as a result of effort and temperaments. Aeneas therefore fails to be a full blown Homeric hero. This is because he is not immortal and he falls short of supernatural powers. Nevertheless, he emerges as a hero who later becomes a great ruler of a kingdom (471-479).

Question 2

The fact that Aeneas is not immortal and has no supernatural powers makes him not to be in the category of Homeric heroes. He is though guided by the shades of his ancestors which determine his actions.  When the battle starts, Aeneas is told to flee by Hector (a dead friend’s shade). When he is about to kill Helen, Venus’ (Aeneas mother) shadow appears to her and urges her to leave Helen alone and focus on his family. As they leave, Aeneas carries his father on his shoulder and the father also carries their gods. Later, Creusa’s shadow assures Aeneas to continue with their journey as there is a royal bride and a great kingdom to rule over ahead. As much as Aeneas would want to stay behind and fight further, the shades of the dead directed in every move that he made. At some points, signs had to appear for Aeneas to move. It is therefore these circumstances that made Aeneas appear as a lesser hero. 

Question 3

In chapter three, Odysseus is continuously aided by the gods. When Odysseus is supposed to suffer   for ten years on his way home, the gods had pity on him and he is allowed to return home. Despite wondering in various kingdoms, Odysseus finally gets home and re-unites with his wife. He is also made the head of Ithaca. Achilles could have been considered a Homeric hero for killing the Ethiopian prince. This could not happen as he was mortal and lacked supernatural powers. Odysseus who worked closely with Athena devised a wooden horse which the Greeks used to destroy the Trojans. Of the three characters; Odysseus, Achilles and Aeneas, Odysseus seemed to be more immortal than the rest of them. Though Aeneas had the courage and communicated with the shades of the dead, Odysseus communicated with gods on what to do. Odysseus therefore stands out as the Homeric hero of the three.

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