The Hero In Virgil's The Aeneid Of Virgil

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In The Aeneid of Virgil, Virgil set out to make the argument that the old-style hero exhibited in Homer’s epics The Iliad and The Odyssey is not sufficient for the modern world (which at the time was Rome during the first century B.C.E). He attempted to create a hero that encompassed the best of both Achilles and Odysseus while also evolving the meaning of hero beyond that of active accomplishments. From the very beginning, Virgil establishes Aeneas as a hero not known for his warring antics but for his obedience and goodness. From page 1, we see Aeneas as more of a servant of Fate than one who fights to write his own. Aeneas was “the first who came, compelled by fate. . . buffeted on land and sea, by the violence of the gods. . .” and more…show more content…
Being denied the honor of an old-style hero by dying in battle, Aeneas laments this misfortune, but soon realizes he has a different role to fulfill. Speaking to his men, he “calms their troubles” while keeping “to himself the sorrow in his heart” (I, 206 and 218). This self-deprecation is another contrast with the old-style hero, and this is one of the several ways Aeneas separates himself as a hero. He receives no glory from death in battle, but instead accepts that his heroism will lay in his acts of good, obedience, and protecting the legacy of future…show more content…
Does this not go against all the qualities Virgil had been arguing for in a hero? Although, at first glance, this action may seem completely contrary to the idea of new-style heroism, one must not forget another important aspect of Virgil’s new hero. He is fallible. He is not omniscient. He is not perfect. Previously, the Virgil showed instances in which Aeneas is wrong. His lack of knowledge is shown in his assumption of Palinurus being too trusting of the sea (V, 836-837) and his belief that Latinus “had more confidence in Turnus’s weapons” than in Aeneas (XI, 120-121). His savagery is exposed during the funeral of Pallas as they offer human victims (XI, 82) and in the battle against the Latins as the Trojans desecrate a sacred olive tree (XII, 826-834). So, assuming Virgil did not mean to edit these faults from the epic before his death, either Virgil is arguing that even this seemingly perfect vision of a hero is not good enough, or Virgil is allowing for human fault and error. Since Virgil’s goal of this epic was to radically redefine the meaning of the word hero, it seems likely that maybe he is accepting human err, and rather than diminishing Aeneas’s accomplishments, is claiming that they are made all the more impressive because Aeneas the hero is fallible. His fallibility makes his accomplishments and obedience harder and,

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