Epics the Aeneid and Metamorphoses: a Comparison

1045 WordsOct 8, 19995 Pages
Epics The Aeneid and Metamorphoses: A Comparison Both Vergil and Ovid imbedded underlying meanings in their epics The Aeneid and Metamorphoses. In this paper I will focus on the underlying meaning in the Underworld scene in Vergil's The Aeneid (lines 356 through 1199). I will also focus on three scenes in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Both epics contain a larger message about the importance of the Roman past for its present and future under Augustus. The story of Aeneas in the Underworld can be interpreted as a brilliant rendition of the story of Rome's past, present, and future. When Aeneas descends into the Underworld, he is escorted by the Sibyl (lines 347 - 349). This gives the readers a clue that what is to happen in the upcoming text…show more content…
Anchises lists the descendants of Aeneas, leaving special mention on Caesar by placing him directly after Romulus. Augustus is glorified as the son of a god, and many great deeds are spoken on his behalf. The epic ends on a sad note: that of Marcellus' death. (Lines 1148 - 1182) This sad ending foretells that Rome will never achieve its full potential, yet it will achieve much. Ovid takes a different approach to his story-telling. Instead of constructing elaborate events which have double meanings, he simply tells several stories. Ovid's works are less complex than Vergil's, and there is much less meaning within his stories. When Pythagoras is speaking, a recurring idea in his speeches is to not eat the flesh of another animal. (Ovid, p337 - 338) On a symbolic level, he is lecturing about taking another person's life. In this sense, Pythagoras may be speaking against murder, and against war. By stating that "... creatures trying to kill us may be killed ..." (p 337) he is implying that it may be necessary to defend one's life against attack, but one should never attack another. In view of Rome's past, this lecture may have come about as a result of the Punic Wars when a large deportation of males from Rome as soldiers caused a serious manpower shortage within the city. (Short Histories, p 25 - 27) Another important message in Pythagoras' speech is that of change. Pythagoras gives several examples of
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