Parallels between Virgil’s The Aenieid and Homer’s The Odyssey

analytical Essay
829 words
829 words

In Virgil’s The Aeneid, there are many parallels found in Homer’s The Odyssey. In each epic, the heroes, Aeneas and Odysseus, are on a journey “home.” Aeneas is on the search of a new home for he and his companions to settle since Troy has been destroyed, Odysseus on the other hand is attempting to return to his home he left years earlier to fight the Trojan War. They both have Gods against them and helping them, both Aeneas and Odysseus are both held back by women, both voluntary and involuntarily, and they both have experiences visiting the Underworld. Despite these similarities, there are differences between the two characters and it reflects their values and the society they live in. Aeneas relies on his strength as a warrior, where as Odysseus uses his deception to survive which reflects how Aeneas is truly Roman is versus Greek.
In Book I, we learn that Aeneas will be facing many obstacles on his journey because Juno (Hera) “in her sleepless rage” does not favor him (1.7). An issue Odysseus also had to deal with. The difference here is, unlike Odysseus who has angered Poseidon by blinding his son, Cyclops, Aeneas has not done anything to provoke this rage. Juno holds a grudge against Paris for not choosing her in a beauty competition against Minerva (Athena) and Venus, “that suffering, still rankled: deep within her, / Hidden away, the judgment Paris gave” (1.39-40). She also knows what is to come of Carthage, “That generations born of Trojan blood [Aeneas] / Would one day overthrow her Tyrian walls,” a city “[Juno] cared more for…/ Than any walled city of the earth” (1.31-32, 24-25). We know that Aeneas is set to build Rome so she will try her hardest to make him fail on his journey. In the case of Odysseus, Athena interc...

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...rough the dark air, they shrank in fear,” unlike Odysseus who speaks with the former heroes (6.298). Aeneas is shown to be more powerful than Odysseus in this scene.
Odysseus’ journey is one that features much emotional pain. Pain for being away from his home, wife and son, but in Aeneas’ journey he is a warrior, and he goes through physical pain. Unlike Odysseus, Aeneas begins his journey after the Greeks have burned his home to the ground. He does not have the pleasure of long comfortable “holdups” Odysseus has and he also has to deal with his father dying—the ultimate blow.

Works Cited

Lawall, Sarah N. “The Aeneid.” The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 612-652. Print.
Lawall, Sarah N. “The Odyssey.” The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 206-495. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Compares aeneas and odysseus in homer's the odyssey. both have gods against them and are held back by women, both voluntary and involuntarily.
  • Analyzes how aeneas faces obstacles on his journey because juno doesn't favor him, unlike odysseus who has angered poseidon by blinding his son cyclops.
  • Analyzes how the women in the aeneid and the odyssey serve as distractions in the men’s mission in going “home.”
  • Compares how dido is shattered by the loss of aeneas and kalypso's feelings when she was forced to release odysseus from the island.
  • Analyzes how aeneas and odysseus' parallels are in the trip to the underworld where a hero gains knowledge of what is to come of their destiny.
  • Compares odysseus' journey with that of aeneas, who is a warrior and goes through physical pain. he begins his journey after the greeks burn his home to the ground.
  • Explains lawall, sarah n., "the aeneid." the norton anthology of western literature. 8th ed.
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