Aeneid Vs Odyssey

Good Essays
While the Aeneid and Odyssey are both considered epic masterpieces the heroes of these poems are not as similar as they first appear. One of the greatest differences between Odysseus and Aeneas is the priorities in each of their lives. These priorities not only reflect the idea of a hero, but also the differing values of the cultures of their authors. For Odysseus, personal glory, pleasure, and comfort are his primary priorities. In contrast, Aeneas constantly suppresses his desires, prioritizing the future of the Trojans and obedience to the gods. Odysseus and Aeneas each embody the focus of their individual cultures, with Odysseus fixated on himself, like the individualistic Greeks, and Aeneas motivated by the idea of achieving something…show more content…
Even if it means evoking the wrath of the gods, glorifying himself is more important. For Odysseus, his is considered the greatest when he is destroying those around him for personal glory. An example of this is Eurycleia, the nurse, when she finds Odysseus: “splattered with gore, his thighs, his fighting hands, / and she, when she saw the corpses, all the pooling blood, / was about to lift a cry of triumph – here was a great exploit” (22.431-433). Through this passage Homer, clearly demonstrates that the ability to exalt oneself, even at the cost of others’ lives is what makes a Greek hero. Eighth century Greek culture was individualistic, rather than focusing on the community, and Odysseus is a clear reflection of…show more content…
When a god or goddess tells Aeneas to do anything, he does it, regardless of how it impacts those he cares about. A prime example is when he falls in love with Dido. He had begun to build his life with Dido, yet once Mercury asks him: “What do you have in mind? What hope, wasting your days / In Libya” (4.369-370) Aeneas almost immediate makes plans to leave for Italy (4.393-395). He unquestionably obeys, despite how he wants to stay and how it will hurt Dido. The blind obedience to the gods is found through the entire Aeneid, particularly Venus as she repeatedly tells her son what to do. His behavior echoes the Roman ideal of being part of something bigger than themselves, whether it is the plan of the gods or a role in building a great
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