Duty is an ever-prominent theme found throughout Virgil’s The Aeneid. In a close analysis of Aeneas’ journey for the rebirth of Rome, he is seen as a transfiguring character, or, to me, one that is seen to undergo significant changes to result in a better form of one’s self to carry out a duty. It is evident that Aeneas’ duty is one that transfigures the wandering and emotionally lost leader into a divine, all-knowing one who is able to find himself in the rebirth of Troy and the well being of future Romans. In order to develop the idea of Aeneas’ change as one to a divine form, I will draw upon the extreme importance of his fate, what is encompassed in such a divine leader, and attainment of Rome, the new Troy, through suffering.
Aeneas' dedication to following his prophesied path directly proves the significance of this fate depicted in the underworld. His katabasis to the underworld in book VI is a turning point in which he is able to begin to accept his upcoming fate. Aeneas proclaims that he is “Aeneas, duty-bound, and known above high air of Heaven" (I.519-20). The fate of his journey makes for Aeneas’ decent into the underworld as a human a possibility. With this decent comes complete knowledge of the future, thus altering his perception on the meaning of life and what to live for. This fate, specifically the idea of a new home, gave the wandering and confused Aeneas something to grasp on to. In turn, Aeneas’ transfiguration is able to set in. Finding himself in revelation of fate causes Aeneas to realize he must sacrifice his contentment and adjust his character in order to fully satisfy his fate. This fate is an absolute transporter of Aeneas into maturity and becoming a divine leader for Rome.
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... of one's character, is a driving force of not only Aeneas himself, but also Rome in its entirety. Without Aeneas striving to fulfill his destiny, thus becoming a divine leader in the process, how would Rome be able to be rebuilt and still contain the fallen Troy? Virgil's idea of a hero is not one of constant bravery and strength, but one who is able to conform themselves for the betterment of one's home and for those who dwell within. Although Aeneas is shown questioning if this fate is something he wishes to conform to and strive for, he ultimately realizes his true human existence is found within divine leadership, a quality attained through personal changes of his character. In order to reach this physical rebirth of Troy he is destined to attain, Aeneas must first undergo an internal rebirth, or change in his character, to benefit both him self and the Romans.
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