Destiny in the Aeneid

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Destiny in The Aeneid

Fate, in the Ancient Greek and Roman world, was one of the great unchangeable powers that stand above even the gods in the hierarchy of supernatural forces. The Greeks and Romans thought that the Fates were three ancient women who spun the web of destiny together. Each man’s life is a thread, and the fates would draw it out and cut it as they saw fit. The gods themselves had to obey the Fates, for even they had golden threads. Fate plays a very large role in Virgil’s epic The Aeneid. Aeneas, the central character, knows from the beginning of his journey that he will ultimately found Rome. This is not to suggest that fate has chosen him in an arbitrary manner. Aeneas is destined to be great because he possesses great attributes.

Fate is a powerful force in the Greek and especially Roman eras, and it is the major theme in Virgil’s Aeneid. He is destined to outlive the Trojan War, lead his people on a long voyage, and ultimately create Rome. In this journey, however, Aeneas is forced to lose many people who are close to him. His wife, Creusa, must die so that he can leave Troy and eventually marry an Italian woman to start Rome. He also must leave his lover Dido for this same reason. Aeneas’ readiness to part with those who are so dear to him alludes to his acceptance to fate and it’s predominant role in his life.

Aeneas’ destiny profoundly affects the people in his life, usually in a negative way. His first wife, Creusa, dies wh...

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