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Aeneid Vs Odyssey

Both the Odyssey and the Aeneid share some similarities as epics; both describe the trials of a heroic figure who is the ideal representative of a There are even individual scenes in the Aeneid areborrowed from the Odyssey. Yet, why are Odysseus and Aeneas so unlike oneanother? The answer is that the authors lived in two different worlds, whosevalues and perceptions varied greatly of a fundamental level. To illustrate, two common ideas woven into the Odyssey are custom andrecklessness. Customs were handed down by the gods, and were meant to keepmen safe by giving them civilization. When men were reckless (when theyflaunted custom and the gods), they invited retribution and chaos by placingthemselves outside the ordained scope of humanity. Moreover, if the customsare followed and proper respect given the gods, it is possible for man to livein harmony indefinitely. In contrast, the Aeneid propounds upon furor and civitas. Furor is thediscord that lies at the heart of each person which engenders violence, andthis furor must be restrained in order for civilization to work. This givesrise to the idea of civitas, the overwhelming devotion to the state aboveselfish personal desire; this is the only way man can chain furor on a largescale. Moreover, it is always possible for furor to surface; even after yearsof sacrifice and constant vigilance, peace is never guaranteed. These differences in ethos are most easily seen when Virgil borrows ascene and transforms it to his own ends. For example, Virgil adopts theepisode where Odysseus washes up on the shore of Skheria and meets thePhaiakians and uses it to form the core of Aeneid I and II. In the Odyssey, the episode begins with Odysseus on his makeshift raft,heading home after all his trials. His eventual passage home has been agreedupon by Zeus, "whose will is not subject to error."1 However, in the pastOdysseus wounded Polyphemos and in reckless abandon questioned the po...

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