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“Homer Loves Odysseus; Virgil Loves Aeneas - but Aeneas Doesn’t Love Dido”

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  1. Introduction
  2. Odysseus: A favorite of the goddess Athena
  3. Juno's plan of causing Dido and Aeneas to fall in love
  4. Conclusion

Influence comes in many forms ? religion, music, books, and authors. By experiencing different people's views, we gain a sense of understanding the world through their eyes. We take cues from others, how they think, act and do in the world, and internalize their beliefs. The religious zealot thinks Jesus' way of life is best ? they try to internalize his lessons. The new age musician looks to his contemporaries ? he believes certain groups play music more in-tune to the way he thinks of the world. Authors are also influenced by their contemporaries. Where would Roddy Doyle be without James Joyce? Where would Toni Morrison be without Faulkner? Would Virgil's the Aeneid be the same story if it wasn't influenced by Homer's Odyssey? Influence has us accept the influential person's beliefs, but we may not agree with all of those beliefs. Homer was a great poet in Virgil's mind, but Odysseus was a bastard Achaean. Homer detailed the hero's win in battle while Virgil wondered more about the victim. The Aeneid echoes a similar plot line in The Odyssey ? a sea-farer wandering from land to land after the Trojan War in hope of going home. Virgil, however, differed in some of his episodes. In Book VI of The Odyssey, Odysseus meets Princess Nausikaa, who, by the gods' will, falls in love with him so that she may give him aid. Odysseus eventually leaves, and Nausikaa is left alone. Virgil proffered a question to the encounter: what if Odysseus had stayed in Skheria with Nausikaa? The poet answers his own question in Book IV of The Aeneid with the passionate Queen Dido (Nausikaa) and the main character Aeneas (Odysseus). The love of Dido for Aeneas is tragic and a hindrance in The Aeneid, but in The Odyssey love is a helpful tool for Odysseus to finally go home.

[...] In Homer's eyes, love helps, but Virgil shows that love is an obstruction and that obstruction is named ?Queen Dido?. Homer writes about love in Book VI of The Odyssey with no real emphasis of the subject; he doesn't write to condone or condemn such action. Virgil on the other hand makes an example of Dido, portraying her as tragic lover?. The Aeneid's author is exclaiming through Dido: if you love too much, you will destroy yourself. Dido's destruction is slow and described with subtle hints, such as the sudden halt of a city's guidance, all because their leader is in love. [...]


[...] The love of Dido for Aeneas is tragic and a hindrance in The Aeneid, but in The Odyssey love is a helpful tool for Odysseus to finally go home. Although both Virgil and Homer believed love to be caused by the god's will, it is the reason of the god's use of love that differs in The Aeneid and The Odyssey. In the Odyssey, Nausikaa is impressed upon to wash linens tomorrow because there is chance of a handsome man who could take her hand in marriage. [...]

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