Saturday, September 5, 2009

Aeneid Short Essay Response #2

The first 49 lines of Book I outlines the major themes of the Aeneid--Aeneas' quest to found a city, the physical and metaphysical struggles to accomplish that mission, the divine opposition of Juno to that mission, and the supremacy of Fate in all these affairs. Of these, the irae Iunonis and will of the Parcae receive the most backstory at the outset, through the recollection of the "Judgement of Paris". You may find an account here .

In a well-argued, three-paragraph essay, explain how Vergil represents the judgements effects through Juno's recollections and the way in which the defeat of Juno's Carthaginians is presented as a matter of Fate. Be sure to consider his use of allusion, foreshadowing and other literary devices to achieve this.


Christina said...

Virgil represents the judgment of Paris as a major open wound for Juno, a deep wrong that is always "manet alta mente repostum...spretaeque iniuria formae."(Line 26, revealing how the slight to her beauty is stored deep in her mind). She has not forgiven the Trojans or moved on, but rather sworn to hinder them as much as she possibly can. Paris' judgment is the base on which all other reasons for her hatred of the Trojans is based off of, and all others are just "super"(Line 29, mentioning that all the other hurts she has suffered are only "in addition" to the judgment of Paris).
The destruction of Carthage is attributed solely to fate, and even the destroyers' roles in the destruction is explained as occurring because of fate, not human action. "hinc populum late regem belloque superbum venturum excidio Libyae: Sic volvere Parcas."(Line 21-22, explaining the role of the Roman race and how they were "decreed by fate" to be the conquerors). Another reason why Juno is so angry with the Trojans is the fact that she knows that their race will topple Carthage, but she knows that there is absolutely nothing she can do to save the city she loves, because even gods can't change the course of fate. "Progeniem sed enim Troiano a sanguine duci audierat, Tyrias olim quae veneret arces."(Line 19-20, revealing how Juno knows the decision of the fates, and what part the Trojans play in it).
Vergil uses foreshadowing to make readers aware of the fate of Carthage even when most of the main characters do not know this fact yet, to create suspense. "si qua fata sinant, iam tum tenditque fovetque."(Line 18). Vergil hints that the fates will not allow Carthage to become great, even though Juno wants the city to be the center of the world. He also alludes to many events in Juno's past to set a back story for the point at which he picks up the poem's storyline. Through Juno's memory we see the creation of Carthage, the siege of Troy, and the judgment of Paris, all commonly known stories at the time.

Brock said...

Vergil portrays the Judgment of Paris as a wound to Juno’s consciousness causing her to find ways to prove her worth as a god. This effect is shown through Vergil having Juno battle the fates, and by his use of soliloquy and other literary devices.

The fates are determine the course of life in the Roman world, yet Juno brood’s “Mene incepto desistere…Quippe vetor fatis, 37-39” and will not give up her fruitless battle against the fates. This shows that Juno is slightly out of her mind in trying to go against the order of life by challenging the fates. She feels that her honor was slighted by the destruction of Carthage and the Judgment of Paris, so Juno is attempting to regain some respect as a god. Juno feels that giving into the natural order of things, as determined by fate, would be accepting defeat.

Vergil also makes a point to contrast Juno to Pallas Athena and Ganymede. He recounts the story of Paris’ Judgement and how Ganymede was carried off as Jupiters cup-bearer instead of herself “manet alta mente… Ganymedis honores, 26-28”. Vergil also recounts how Pallas Athena threw Jupiter’s fire from the sky killing Argives “Pallasne exurere classem… scopuloque infixit acuto, 39-45”. These two recounts of literature show how Juno thought she was being lowered in status as a god. Juno even questioned whether or not she would be worshipped as a result of these two events “Et quisquam numen Iunonis adoret… aris imponet honorem, 48-49 ”. Juno feels that she has to show to everyone including the gods that she has something of value and that value is courage which she attemps to show through fighting a losing battle. Vergil makes sure to point out this result explicitly by saying that the founding of Rome was a long one meaning that eventually Juno would give up and let her enemies go about as the fates choose “This was the beginning of the Latin race, the Alban fathers and the high walls of Rome, 6-7 ”.

In conclusion, it is made obvious that Juno is trying to show her muscle as a higher power both to the Gods and the human race by showing that she is powerful enough to be a major force going against the fates, but that even she is bound to fail…well by fate.

(I know that this paper repeats the topic sentence over and over again, but I couldn't find another way to say it. I feel it's too bogged down as an essay, so I'm interested see some ideological impovements.)

George said...

The rage of Juno is the primary antagonist in the opening stages of the Aeneid. Her vengeful wrath stymies Aeneas at every twist and turn in his quest to found the Roman state. What is the source of this boundless hatred? A beauty pageant, of all things. Juno, after being scorned by the choice of the beauty of Venus over her own, kept this grief close to her heart and lashed out against all those from those who hailed from the same kingdom as Paris, Troy. Aeneas had the unhappy misfortune to be a Trojan, and because “manet alta mente repostum iudicium Paridis spretaeque iniuria formae” (deep in her sould remain judgment of Paris and the outrage to her slighted beauty, 26-27) she devoted her energy towards obliterating the hero. However, a mere contest of physical beauty seems like a very superficial reason to wish death upon an entire race of men. In fact, the Judgment of Paris was not really an assessment of physical beauty at all. Instead of being fair and letting the man choose freely, the goddesses desperately offered Paris great gifts for choosing them. Minerva offered him victory in all future battles, Juno presented him the chance to be king over all men, and Venus guaranteed him the love of any woman that he would choose. Paris chose the woman, Helen, “whose beauty would launch a thousand ships” and left Juno and Minerva scorned. The vast power that Juno promised to Paris is cast aside and shrugged off, meaning that Juno’s sphere of power is not as influential as she would hope. This realization causes her to exacted a bitter revenge on the people of Paris, and even after the loss of many lives and countless miseries Juno’s revenge has not yet been satisfied.
Another cause for Juno’s desire to prevent Aeneas from completing his goal is the decree by the Fates that the Roman nation that the hero will found will one day by the undoing of Carthage, a kingdom that Juno is very fond of. Juno rails against her predetermined destiny and though she knows that nothing can be done to alter the ruling of the Fates, she tries nonetheless to destroy Aeneas. Her frustration fuels her rage and with that wrath Juno is determined to do all she can to overthrow Rome before it is even founded.