Peer Pressure In The Aeneid

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Students hear two words constantly throughout their teenage years, “peer pressure”. They are exposed to this concept not only in everyday life, but in many writings throughout history. Specifically, an epic written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, The Aeneid, focuses on the heroic figure named Aeneas and his life. In Book IV, Virgil writing centers on Aeneas and Dido’s relationship and the tragedy within. This tragic love story starts with a reluctant Queen Dido who has sworn she would never love again. Once Dido is approached by Aeneas, who was characterized as a hero, Dido realizes she has feelings, but is indecisive because of the loss of her first love. The gods, as well as many close to Dido, promote this union without knowing the pain…show more content…
In The Aeneid, Jupiter’s plan works, but the main reason for acting the way she did, was because she had done it before with success. You see firsthand the affects that it had on each character, but the main reason for the pressure was to get Aeneas to fulfill his duty in Italy. In other Greek writings, such as The Bible, you see peer pressure work as well. In the book of John, a disciple named Peter defies his relationship to Jesus three times, because they were eliminating anyone who was in contact with Jesus in those times. (New Kings James Full Color Bible, John 18.15-27) Also showing peer pressure, in The Iliad, specifically book six, Menelaus is peer pressured into knocking Adestrus away from him, and then is killed by Agamemnon for doing so. Before pushing Adestrus, Agamemnon criticizes him harshly and then it states, “...with these words, by this appeal to justice, he changed his brother’s mind. So Menelaus shoved heroic Adestrus.” (Homer 73-75). Agamemnon called Melelaus “soft-hearted” and said, “Let no one escape. Let everyone in Troy be slaughtered,without pity, without leaving any trace.”(Homer 63-72) Menelaus was motivated by the criticism to push Adestrus to satisfy Agamemnon. Agamemnon said that he should leave no trace, telling Menelaus that it would be better for him if Adestrus was dead. With various examples, readers can conclude after reading many Greek readings that having peer pressure within the reading is part of their culture. Students reading Greek epics could easily tell you that chaos happened when one was told to choose between two things. In The Bible, Peter had to choose either stay loyal to Jesus, or utterly defy him. In The Iliad, Menelaus had to choose whether or not to push Adestrus. In The Aeneid Aeneas has to choose whether to stay with Dido or go to Italy to found Rome, because that was his duty. We see this element of peer
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