Differences and similarities between Aeneid and Iliad

Vergil’s Aeneid shares a connection to the Trojan legend with to Homer’s Iliad, but, as we have discussed in class, there are important differences. For instance, while both Achilles and Aeneas face fierce battles, Vergil’s Aeneas is a protagonist with a less personal and more “nationalistic” mission. Moreover, one could argue that the story about Aeneas looks to the future (what is going to happen after Aeneas is long gone) in a way that Achilles’ story does not. This eye towards the future may in part be a reflection of the fact that Aeneas, while the protagonist of Vergil’s epic, is not the only focus of the narrative. Write an essay in which you discuss Aeneas’ adventures in light of what you see as one of the purposes of this Roman epic. For this topic, you will be keeping a comparison of Achilles and Aeneas in mind, but you will be focusing on Aeneas. A good way to begin the body of the paper, for instance, would be to discuss briefly the characterization of Homer’s protagonist in the Iliad, including what you think may have been the purpose of the work. Spend at most two paragraphs on this, however, and then quickly move on to the Aeneid. Your discussion of the Aeneid should obviously refer back to what you said about the Iliad, but you should broaden out the discussion of the Aeneid even more. The thesis of the paper should make some sort of assertion about how the Aeneid differs from many other heroic works of antiquity (it also differs from Gilgamesh, no?), but you do not necessarily need to set up a comparison with the Iliad specifically in the thesis.

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