Mortals In The Aeneid

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During the period of time during which Vergil wrote his epic The Aeneid, many people attributed supernatural actions to the will of the gods; this belief greatly influenced their writing. In The Aeneid the gods are an ever-present force and posses divine influence. They play a vital role in determining the destiny of mortals, especially mortals who attract much attention from the gods, like Aeneas. Just like in Homer’s epics, the god’s constant bickering between them directly affects the lives of the mortals. Although the gods do not have the supreme right to change mortals’ fates, they can however, manipulate them at will, sometimes helping them, but often postponing them on their journeys and intertwining them in their problems. The Aeneid…show more content…
Venus cares deeply about her son and wants to make sure that he succeeds in his journey and becomes the founder of Rome. “His mother came to meet him looking like a Spartan girl out hunting, wearing the dress of a Spartan girl and carrying her weapon” (12). She intervenes in his affairs frequently, but with the best intentions. She commanded Cupid to make Dido, the queen of Carthage, fall in love with Aeneas so that he would be welcomed there and not have to wage war. “For Venus was afraid of the treacherous house of Carthage and the double-tongued people of Tyre”(Pg 23.) This intervention however paves the way for Juno to hatch a plan of her own. Juno brings a fierce storm down upon Dido and Aeneas while they are hunting, sending them to seek refuge in a cave and consummate the love Dido felt for Aeneas because of the love arrow burning in her chest. Juno did this so Aeneas would stay in Carthage for a great while and his destined founding of Rome would be delayed. Her plan succeeded until another god intervenes. Jupiter sends Mercury to remind Aeneas of his quest and inspire him to leave Carthage and Dido behind. Mercury says to Aeneas “ Have you entirely forgotten your own kingdom and your own destiny...What do you hope to achieve by idling your time away in the land of Libya?”(Pg 77.) This divine message…show more content…
It is their argument that drives that plot forward and is the reason for most of the conflicts throughout the epic. Aeneas seems to be pushed along, pulled by one god or another and manipulated to do their bidding. Even the “lesser gods” (Alecto, Cupid, Aeolus...etc.) seem to be at the mercy of the more “primary gods”(Venus, Neptune, Juno…etc.) The primary gods use the lesser gods to help them with their schemes and interfere with the mortals on their behalf. Juno and Venus however, are still at the mercy of an even more powerful god, Jupiter. Jupiter has supreme control over all the gods and controls the fate of the humans. Juno is Jupiter’s wife, yet he leads her on in her quest to seek revenge on Aeneas and Venus; knowing full well that Aeneas’s fate cannot be changed and he will eventually become the founder of Rome and burn Carthage, Juno’s favorite city, to the ground. Jupiter also does little to thwart Venus’s efforts to destroy Aeneas and appears to find humor in watching Venus and Juno battle and manipulate the mortals. It appears the Vergil believed that humans were under the supreme control of the gods and made their presence and constant interference a major driving point in the epic. Vergil wanted to show how powerless the humans were against the gods and how they can simply be used as

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