The Odyssey : The Aeneid And The Odyssey

1075 WordsAug 22, 20175 Pages
The Aeneid and the Odyssey are perhaps two of the most famous epic poems to come out of the ancient world. Both stories involve acts of heroism, divine intervention, and ultimately, victory. They both offer insights into the cultures of Rome and Greece at the time of their writings. Additionally, both works stem from the same event (the Trojan War) but follow different characters, touching on different aspects of the idealized hero in Roman and Greek culture. We must first start by discussing who Virgil and Homer were and the societies they came from. Publius Vergilius Maro was born in Andes, a village near Mantua in Cisalpine Gaul, in 70 b.c.e. He was born into a peasant farming family and the Italian countryside & its people influenced…show more content…
In his works, disgrace due to dishonor is the worst that can happen to a hero, and a short life of glorious deeds is considered far superior to a long life of peace and mediocrity, since by great deeds a man might become immortal [3]. The Odyssey tells the story of the return of Odysseus to his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, on the island of Ithaca after ten years of fighting at Troy. While the poem centers on the return of Odysseus from Troy, the content of the Odyssey is thematically diverse and its structure is complex. It contains four major themes: the journey of Odysseus on his way home, (complete with monsters, sorceresses, and a trip to the underworld); the parallel journey of Odysseus’ son Telemachus, a twenty years old man trying to grow to adulthood despite an absent father; Odysseus’s actual return to Ithaca and his winning back of home and wife; and his revenge on the suitors who were vying for Penelope’s hand, aided by his son and faithful aides [4]. The Odyssey portrays a detailed picture of life in Greece. It focuses on the city-state of Ithaca and, in particular, the Greek family represented by Odysseus, Penelope, and Telemachus. It also includes moving portraits of slaves and other non-aristocratic characters. The center of attention is always Odysseus, who is not a tragic hero such as Achilles or Hector. He is a survivor. He confronts danger and death head on, but is never truly in danger of dying before accomplishing
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