Comparing Anger In The Aeneid And The Iliad

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Beginnings, Endings, and Anger As was Virgil’s intent, the structure of The Aeneid parallels that of Homer’s Iliad throughout the epic. This tendency is clearest at the outset and the finale of each work. However, despite their parallels, The Aeneid intentionally inverts key aspects of The Iliad, particularly regarding the hero of each epic, Aeneas and Achilles, respectively. This inversion is the result of a dynamic established in the first book of each epic, in which Achilles is the agent of fury, and Aeneas is the recipient of another anger, the anger of the goddess Juno. Many of the most striking similarities between The Aeneid and The Iliad occur in the final confrontations between the two opposing heroic warriors. Before his final duel with Aeneas, “Turnus madly flees across the field” (Aeneid 12.983), just as Hektor leads Achilles in a chase around the perimeter of Troy. Even the language used to describe…show more content…
Again, there are stylistic similarities, the invocation of the Muse, the short description of the events to follow, and an emphasis on divine meddling, etc. However, the principal focus of The Iliad, “The anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus” (Iliad 1.1) differs significantly from the focus of The Aeneid, introduced as a song “of arms and of a man” (Aeneid 1.1). Firstly, Aeneas is not yet named, he is just “a man”, while Achilles is both named and given a lineage. Furthermore, since the anger of Achilles is the central theme, the conclusion must be the conclusion of Achilles’s anger, which is only actualized once he is able to let go of his rage against Hektor, hence the necessity of the Iliad’s ending. There is no such imperative in The Aeneid, the story ends when the “arms” of the war end, which is the implied result of Turnus’s death, so any personal growth of Aeneas is irrelevant to the epic’s
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