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Hercules in The Aeneid Essay example

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Hercules is one of the most well-known mythical heroes in history; his associations with adventure and violence exemplify as to why audiences are so interested in him. Virgil briefly writes about Hercules within The Aeneid, showcasing his heroic qualities within a climactic event with the monster, Cacus. Through the characterization of Hercules and Cacus, demonstrations of Hercules’ anger, and exemplifications of vividness, Virgil’s account of the battle between Hercules and Cacus in Book 8 of The Aeneid exemplifies an element of impact, heightening the conflict between the two characters for entertainment purposes.
The conflict between Hercules and Cacus in The Aeneid illustrates their characterizations, contrasting them through their moral stances. The epic’s portrayal of Hercules’ as a moral individual appeals to the audience’s view of him as the hero of the passage. Hercules’ moral character is exhibited when King Evander introduces the story of Hercules and Cacus, stating, “Here . . . was / once a cave which the rays of the sun never reached. This was / the home of the foul-featured, half-human monster by the name of Cacus . . . Long did we pray and in / the end we too were granted the help and the presence of a god” (Virgil 8.193-6, 199-200). Further to Evander’s story, he also illustrates the morality of Hercules’ heroism by stressing the fear of Cacus: “Never before had our / people seen Cacus afraid. Never before had there been terror in / these eyes” (8.222-4). Evander delineates the morality of Hercules by showcasing his heroic element, as well as recognizing his divinity; these attributes, as well as his act of striking fear into Cacus, solidify his morality. Hercules’ virtues appeal to the audience, allowing them to...


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...which heightens and adds to the conflict between the two adversaries. The characterization of Hercules and Cacus, Hercules’ anger, and the vividness and realism of the passage all heighten the actions within, further entertaining the audience. By contrasting the characters of Hercules and Cacus, recognizing tensity which Hercules’ anger induces the audience to undergo, and seeing how vividness and realism affect the setting and action within the episode, the audience is able to heighten not only the conflict between the two enemies, but rather heighten their appreciation of the epic. Virgil, through Evander in this instance, utilizes descriptive words which encapsulate a sense of emotion to the audience, allowing one to build upon characters, setting, and action.



Works Cited

Virgil. The Aeneid. Trans. David Alexander. West. London, England: Penguin, 1990. Print.


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