The Importance Of Fate In The Aeneid

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Is life pre-ordained? In living, are we consciously making decisions that affect how our lives play out or are people simply characters preforming from a script containing the information of all of time? This concept of destiny verses human agency is a common thread through the epic poem, The Aeneid by Virgil as Aeneas is destined to found Rome, and that Rome that he founds is destined to prevail and be great. In The Aeneid, destiny is inevitable, because fate is inescapable and will come to pass in spite of interfering situations as demonstrated in the catalogues of the shield of Aeneas and the characters presented in the Underworld. Fate is unavoidable, but may not occur in the expected method as demonstrated by Palinurus in the underworld. This is reminiscent of Greek oracle prophesies of fate in which the fated future will always occur, but the path along the way is unknown to humans. Palinurus was “foretold [to be] unharmed at sea,” yet was amongst those who did not have a proper burial which brings the truth of the prophecy and fate into question. He had tried to escape being harmed by being a helmsman, but was still killed because it was his fate. Fate got around the obstacle of him being at sea, by being “knocked overboard,” “[washed] close inshore” in other words away from the sea, and killed by natives (Virgil 998). It important to note that it was specifically mentioned multiple times in this section that “no god” had interfered in this ordeal (Virgil 998). This must therefore be a work of fate that lead to his death.
Fate occurs regardless of human agency as seen in the tales of Romulus and Remus and Manlius and the goose. Romulus and Remus were abandoned by their human mother and excepted to die, but they had a fate to fulfil so could not die. They ended up being cared for by a “she-wolf” who is part of the natural “fate” world, not the human controlled world (Virgil 1062).
This notion is continued later on the shield when Manlius, a human, was about to be ambushed whilst sleeping, but was woken up by “the silver goose” (Virgil 1062). The “Gauls [were] swarming the thickets, about to seize the fortress, shielded by the shadows of night” (Virgil 1063). They were ready. The time
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