At first, it seems odd to compare a snake to a fire. One lives among us, but the other is never actually living. However, taking a different perspective, a person might notice that the two hiss, creep, and have wavering tongues. Virgil makes use of this comparison extensively throughout Book Two of The Aeneid. The brutality of the attackers, their deception, and the fires which complete their task are repeatedly linked to the action of the snake. The snake attacks from hiding, as did the Greeks from the “womb” of the Trojan horse. Subsequently, brutality as an attribute of the snake is imposed on the scholar's consciousness in Book Two of The Aeneid through the account of the destiny of Laocoon and his two sons. Hence, the snake is an…show more content… They’re real, and they’re dangerous. Nonetheless, if you look deeper, you’ll see that they are something more. They prophesize the downfall of Troy as a whole. The snakes come from Tenedos, which is also where the Greeks are supposedly hiding. And, obviously, they take out a man who otherwise would’ve prevented the Trojan horse from invading into Trojan territory.
“Over the calm deep straits of Tenedos swim
Twin, giant serpents, rearing in coils, breasting the seaswell…
First each serpent seizes one of his small young sons,
Constricting, twisting around him, sinks its fangs in
The tortured limbs, and gorges. Next Laocoon rushing to the rescue, clutching his sword—
They trap him, bind him in huge muscular whorls,
Their scaly backs lashing around his midriff twice
And twice around his throat—their heads, their flaring necks mounting over their victim writhing still… his horrible screaming fills the skies…” (262-282)
This horrifying image carries all the power of the destruction of Troy. These lines foretell not only the presence of the Greek formation (the fact that they arrived from Tenedos), but the assault (the murders), the Trojan defense, the murder of Polites and Priam (the son first and the father last), and the fires which rise above blazing Troy (their flaring necks and the screams that fill the skies). They display the destruction of Troy as the life of the snake.
In a passage similar to the one referring to the death of Laocoon, we meet the first Greek