Aeneid vs. Odyssey

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Aeneid vs. Odyssey Both the Odyssey and the Aeneid share some similarities as epics; both describe the trials of a heroic figure who is the ideal representative of a particular culture. There are even individual scenes in the Aeneid are borrowed from the Odyssey. Yet, why are Odysseus and Aeneas so unlike one another? The answer is that the authors lived in two different worlds, whose values and perceptions varied greatly of a fundamental level. To illustrate, two common ideas woven into the Odyssey are custom and recklessness. Customs were handed down by the gods, and were meant to keep men safe by giving them civilization. When men were reckless (when they flaunted custom and the gods), they invited retribution and chaos by placing themselves outside the ordained scope of humanity. Moreover, if the customs are followed and proper respect given the gods, it is possible for man to live in harmony indefinitely. In contrast, the Aeneid propounds upon furor and civitas. Furor is the discord that lies at the heart of each person which engenders violence, and this furor must be restrained in order for civilization to work. This gives rise to the idea of civitas, the overwhelming devotion to the state above selfish personal desire; this is the only way man can chain furor on a large scale. Moreover, it is always possible for furor to surface; even after years of sacrifice and constant vigilance, peace is never guaranteed. These differences in ethos are most easily seen when Virgil borrows a scene and transforms it to his own ends. For example, Virgil adopts the episode where Odysseus washes up on the shore of Skheria and meets the Phaiakians and uses it to form the core of Aeneid ... ... middle of paper ... ...face. Thus, it is not surprising that the Greek and Roman epics were so different, since what the they perceived were really two different worlds. Bibliography: 1Odyssey V, line 34 2Odyssey IX, lines 571-73 3Aeneid I, page 20 4Aeneid I, page 13 of the 1952 C. Day Lewis translation; all further page references are from this. 5Aeneid I, page 21 6Both quotes are from Aeneid I, page 14 7Odyssey VII, line 124 8Odyssey VII, line 106 9Odyssey VII, lines 138-140 10Odyssey VII, lines 77-78 11Odyssey VI, lines 210-11 12Odyssey VI, lines 215-16 13Odyssey VIII lines 617-18 14Last four quotes from Aeneid I, page 25 15Aeneid I, pages 25-26 16Last four quotes from Aeneid I, page 26 17Odyssey V, lines 229-233 18Odyssey V, lines 337-38 19Odyssey IX, line 204 20Odyssey X, line 9 21Odyssey X, lines 473-74 22Last two quotes from Aeneid II, page 36

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