Essay The Role of the Gods and Fate in Virgil's The Aeneid

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The Role of the Gods and Fate in Virgil's The Aeneid

Are the deeds of mortal characters in the Aeneid controlled by the gods or by fate? Aeneas must fulfill the will of the gods, while enduring the wrath of other gods, all the while being a worthy predecessor of Augustus and founder of the Roman people. Of course, the Trojan is successful because he gives himself up to these other obligations, while those who resist the will of the gods, Dido and Turnus, die sad deaths.

Juno, the queen of gods, attempts to destroy Aeneas and his men in Book I of the Aeneid. The city of Carthage is Juno's favorite, and it has been prophesized that the race of the Trojans will one day destroy that city. This is too much for Juno to bear as another
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Thanks to Neptune, though, they are only thrown off course, and Venus assures that they will not be harmed in Carthage. At times in the Aeneid, it seems as if the story is less about the deeds of the mortal characters than about the bickering of the gods, who continuously disrupt or manipulate events on Earth. The one common theme, though, is that fate always comes true. Aeneas is destined to settle in Italy, and nothing can prevent this. Jupiter sees to it that his overall plan will come to pass by helping out Venus.

The fall of Troy was brought about because the god Minerva helped to fool the Trojans into accepting the wooden horse. Sinon tells the Greeks, "if your hands should harm Minerva's gift, / then vast destruction...would fall on Priam?s kingdom and the Phrygians; / but if it climbed by your hands into Troy, then Asia would repel the Greeks" (II.268-273). Minerva sends a strange sign to confirm this story: two giant serpents rise up from the sea, devour a priest and his two sons, and then slither up to the shrine of Minerva. The Trojans took this as a sign that they must appease the goddess, and so they wheeled the horse into the city of Troy. Throughout the book Aeneas is convinced that the gods are out to get him: "Had the outcome not / been fated by the gods...Troy, you would be standing yet" (II.75-79); "But oh, it is
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