The New Hero Of Aeneas Essay Research — страница 4

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Ajax. Vergilius takes pains to make Turnus live up to the old heroic standards and shows how in the best traditions of his type he rallies his troops, attacks the Trojan fights with heroic courage in his last encounter against hopeless odds. He is a true hero by Homeric standards and finds in battle proper scope for his great gifts. However, Turnus’ heroic behavior fails to win. He is killed, because he lived a life of war and inevitably resorts to war when his will is crossed. He presents that heroic world which contains in its ideals the seeds of its own destruction, and in him, Vergilius shows that he understood the heroic type of Homer, and even admired it, but knew that it was no longer what the world needed. Conclusively, we can see Vergilius’ idea of heroism to be

quite different from Homer’s, because it depends on moral strength that is displayed not merely in battle but in other departments of life. Moreover, Homer’s heroes never question the worth of the glory which they seek, but Aeneas, hampered by doubts and misgivings, is unsure not only about his glory but about his whole destiny. This uncertainty is one of his greatest trials, and he shows his worth by pursuing his task despite all his doubts about it. His success is greater, because it is won largely in spite of his own human feelings. In him, Vergilius displays what a man really is, a creature uncertain of his place in the universe and of the goal to which he moves. To the distrustful and uncertain Augustan age this conception came with the urgency of truth, and Vergilius’

immediate and lasting success was due to his having found an answer to the spiritual needs of his time. In the vision of Rome, he presented an ideal strong enough to win the devotion of his contemporaries, and in his belief in sacrifice and suffering he prepared the way across the centuries to those like Marcus Aurelius who asked that men should live and die for an ideal city greater and more truly universal than Rome. Once Vergilius had opened up a new vision of human worth and recast the heroic ideal in a new mold, he set an example that later poets could not but follow. We might not accept his interpretation of human destiny in all its details, but we might feel that he had marked out the main lines for epic poetry and that any new heroic ideal must take account of what

‘he’ says and does. Bibliography THE ILIAD BY HOMER THE AENEID BY VIGIL