Research Question: Is the plot of The Aeneid driven by the gods or by the humans, and is Aeneas capable of making it to Italy without the help of the gods?
Thesis: Virgil’s use of the gods in The Aeneid reflect that of a puppeteer, their actions help Aeneas, but also create conflict for him in his journey.
- Intro: In Virgil’s The Aeneid we are met with the demigod Aeneas on his journey to find Italy. The epic is a tale of a hero destined to found Rome after surviving the fall of Troy. While Aeneas is the focal point of the poem he also has the help of the immortals to guide him on his way. Virgil’s use of the gods in The Aeneid reflect that of a puppeteer, their actions help Aeneas, but also create conflict for him in his journey.
- Supporting Evidence: I will use this paragraph to show the intro to the poem, Juno going to the god of wind, Aeolus, to create a storm to put in the path of Aeneas. I will also use the prayer to Neptune that saves Aeneas. I will also use the supporting evidence of Venus and Cupid and the effect on Dido and Aeneas.
- Supporting Evidence 2: I will use this paragraph to further dive into my thesis, and use the retelling of Aeneas’ journey to Carthage as evidence of the gods assisting him on the way. I will use the story of his fleeing or Troy and his journey to the wrong island, and how he escaped the island. I will also explain in this paragraph how Aeneas came to the realization that he spent too much time in Carthage and needed to be on his way.
- Supporting Evidence 3: this paragraph will be used to show how Aeneas was guided through battle with the Latins. I will use this paragraph to also show how the gods assisted the latins.
- Supporting Evidence 4: lastly i will use this paragraph to show how Juno finally accepted Jupiter’s fate of Aeneas and the Trojans. I will also use her only request, to have them speak Latin, to support the idea that the gods were the masterminds behind the whole journey and even though this wasn’t the fate she wanted, she had some say in the way their people were destined to live.
- Conclusion: Virgil had various opportunities to let Aeneas make his own decisions, but every time that opportunity arose a god was there to direct him in the right direction. The gods knew that he was a loyal man and would put the needs of his people over his own. There were times when he doubted his journey because of all the conflict that Juno put in his path, but he kept his faith in the gods that he knew supported him. Virgil used the gods to create conflict for him but he also used them to generate peace. It seems that in the heavens the gods are at war with each other, and they use humans to fight out these battles. Ultimately, it is Jupiter and his scale that determines the true fate of man. In the poem we see that men are merely play pieces for the gods and their true fate lies in the hands of the residents of the sky.
Virgil, and John Dryden. Aeneid. 1981