Passion And Control In Virgil's The Aeneid

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When the poet Virgil wrote the national epic The Aeneid between 29 and 19 BC, all written works and conduits for creative expression were monitored by Roman ruler Augustus Caesar – a real-life contention between passion and control. Throughout the excerpt on pages 139 and 140 of Fagle’s translation (which covers themes such as fate, the gods, and divine intervention, and piety), Virgil explores the underlying theme of conflict between desire and duty, emotion, and reason. Exploring irony, the comparison of Dido and Aeneas’ traits, and pietas being a decision, Virgil shows Aeneas to be a flawed, enigmatic epic Roman hero who personifies the human conflict – passion versus control – of the Aeneid and the Roman empire itself. To begin with, it’s …show more content…

One “choice” Aeneas “makes” is to not only cut off his budding relationship with Dido, whom he allegedly loves and respects, but then cooly dismisses their marriage and heads off to found Rome; their relationship symbolizes the opposing forces of pietas and furor, as well as the Grecian concepts of fate and eros. So, Dido seems to be the personification of furor (acting selfishly, on impulse or out of anger; acting without thinking, often through fury or violence) – and therefore the opposite of pious, calm Aeneas. It’s important to consider that current modern, American ideas and perspective are vastly different from the Romans, who prized moderation, level-headedness, and a strong sense of duty and responsibility; so it’s easier for present-day audience to be more prone to side with Dido, because our society’s prioritized values drastically differ from the Romans’. However, Aeneas’ denial of the marriage seems cruel and immature, given that he 's spent the whole winter with Dido and knows how much she loves him. “Nor did I once extend a bridegroom’s torch or enter into a marriage pact with you.” Aeneas, however, is also simply pointing out that personal feelings don 't mean anything in the face of piously doing your duty and following fate. If he 'd chosen to follow his personal feelings, he 'd have never even started on this journey that led him to Dido. However, Aeneas’ choice to leave Dido seems like a weak move considering Dido defies her own fate because her own emotions are so powerful – this speaks to the idea that furor and human emotion unbridled is more potent and meaningful than being dedicated to pietas and accepting one’s fate. But it also ends disastrously

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