Essay on The Aeneid

October 3, 2018 November 13th, 2018 Business

The Aeneid Analysis

In Book 7 of The Aeneid, the story begins with the caretaker of Aeneas passing away. Her name was Caieta and according to the line 6-7 “When he has seen Caieta’s funeral Performed, her mound of tome heaped up…”(Virgil, p.195). It shows that although there definitely has a lack of basic right for women in ancient times, they were still grieved for a specific context when they die. While Caieta is just one of the many women featured in the book who is not very associated with war, there are others such as Juno and Allecto who have far more nefarious roles. Unfortunately, the lives of the women in the book are full of tragedy such as the life of Amata is ruined by Juno. Another event that is notable is the stories that surround the life of Lavinia who is the wife of Aeneas. It would seem that Lavinia is primarily a victim and an object in this section of The Aeneid. From the perspective of Aeneas and Turnus, Lavinia is a valuable asset that is worth to be fought over. Unfortunately, the narrow viewpoints held by these two enemies escalated the two sides into a war. Therefore, Lavinia is also an instigator of war when the war is being fought by men like many in Ancient times. Unfortunately, because of the war that was caused by the existence of Lavinia, many people will have to suffer the pain and death of a large conflict in a war. Thus, we can conclude that although women were not respected in regard to their ability to wage and plan war, there are still a few of women were able to influence some aspects of war through other unorthodox means.

The war in ancient time was absolutely a male dominated affair. Women neither did fight in wars nor were expected to involve in wars that are declared by men in the first place. The role that women played in war is that they are to unfortunately suffer the side effects of a war, such as the loss of their husbands and sons or having to deal with the devastation that naturally comes from war. In the ancient time, war was fought not from long distance but actually very close. The battles that men fought would be used with swords and shields and that was a very close encounter that they would meet each other in the battlefield. In ancient times men killed each other while staring at each other. This would be extremely frightening and because of biological differences in men and women, the women would definitely be not allowed to fight because they would be guaranteed to be killed by the man. Because of this, the society evolved to show that the war was seen as a very masculine domain that women had no business participating in. It can be visualized in lines 800 to 805 where there are mentions of, “…cries for Mars…”, “…pled for frightful war…”, and “Outshouting one another, round the palace” (Virgil, p.217). In Ancient societies, women were seen as more submissive and the idea of their participation in actions was alien to the warriors of that era. Despite the fact that women’s ability to wage and plan war was not respected, there were still a few women such like Allecto and Juno influenced war successfully. Allecto is a woman who love the horrors of war and chaos. She excels at using tricks to get young warriors to take up arms and start wars. In regard to Allecto trying to start a war on behalf of Juno, Turnus essentially shows disrespect for the ability of women in a war and says that men should be the ones that make war, not women. This is interesting that although Allecto is a fury which is a very powerful person that demands respect, because she is depicted as a woman, the men do not give her as much respect as they give a man. This is demonstrated in line 606 where Turnus says, “Do not imagine me afraid. Queen Juno Has not forgotten me. But old age, mother, sunk in decay ….is giving you this useless agitation”(Virgil, p.211). This shows that Turnus believes that Juno’s appearance of the fury simply acts as a product of her being an older woman. He calls this an “useless agitation” because he believes that women do not have the ability to start a war. War is primarily the responsibility of men and women should stay out of the affairs that surround war even if they are a powerful fury that, “drips venom like a gorgon”.

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In the war-narratives of the Aeneid, women are more likely to play a role that have inflammatory conversations with the warriors that are about to fight. In rare occasions, there are women in the battlefield, and in the majority of times, they would be seen trying to coax the men into peace. This can be different outside of the battlefield where women such as Juno sometimes would try to coax men into war as long as they are not directly involved in the battles that is going on. In this end, women can definitely play the instigator of war. Women were not allowed to fight in the war directly, what they could do is acts as an influence on the people that actually participate in the war. Even Juno wants to try and influence the opinions of the individuals that she wants them to go to war, she has to rely on a fury in order to carry out her commands. In this way, she can maintain distance from some of the affairs that surround war. Through the use of her fury, Juno shows that even though she is not a man, she has considerably more influence on the turn of events in the war than most of other men except for the central characters of the story. This proves that women like Juno actually had immense power compares to the men who were subordinates to Turnus or Allecto. However, these male leaders still disrespected the women, no matter how much they have influenced to the war.

The world of The Aeneid is demonstrated in book 7 as a place where instances of war are also discussed, fought, and planned by women though the male leaders deny women’s status in a war. We can conclude that while women are seen as second-class citizens that are usually displayed as being either victims or objects, there are the exceptions such as Juno and Allecto that actively instigate a war as long as she is not directly involved in the slaughter that war brings.


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