Aeneid

Before the destruction of troy had even begun we are able to find a major fault in the actions of Aeneas. When the Trojans first found the supposed gift to Athena on the beach they were confused. Looking at the horse some believed it was a sacred gift left by the Greeks in honour of Athena. But some doubted this and said it was a trap and it should be destroyed. One of the people who thought this was Laocoon, the priest of Neptune. Practically telling the Trojans the fate of the horse and throwing a spear into the horse’s side where it quivered.

The Romans wound criticise Aeneas for turning a blind eye to this information and not bothering to check the horse out for himself. When reeling the great horse into the walls of troy the Trojans did not take account of the other signs that something was wrong. Four times the horse stopped, making the armour inside clang against its sides. Aeneas would again be criticized for his behaviour, as he is not paying full attention to what is happening right in front of his eyes. We are told of how Hector the Prince of Troy and great warrior, came to Aeneas in a dream.

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Through this dream Hector warns Aeneas that the Great War has started and that Troy is crumbling. Hector informs Aeneas that it is his duty to keep the sacred treasures of Troy and her Gods. He also tells him fate that he should take these treasures and build a great home for them after sailing far over the seas. Although after hearing all, of this when he does awake to find troy under attack he is over come with temptation and snatches up his sword and joins in the fighting, with out stopping to think. The glory of death in battle was all that he was thinking of.

The Roman readers would have frowned on this behaviour of Aeneas as his has ignored his instructions told to him in his dream, as dreams were taken very seriously then and thought to have been special messages sent from the gods. Also in going out to fight he has forgotten about his family and left them alone, vulnerable and unaware. Even when Panthus, one of Apollo’s priest approaches Aeneas and tells him that Troy is lost and that Jupiter has handed everything over to the Greeks, Aeneas does not listen and still plunges into the fighting.

Some Romans may look at Aeneas as a great fighter as he never gives up, even when told that Jupiter is against him. Also it is an honour to die in battle fighting for your country. However Aeneas has still left behind his family and is not doing his duty as a husband and father in looking after his most loved ones. The rush of fighting and honour has taken over his love for his family. This shows he is easily persuaded. Before the war of Troy had even started we are told that Aeneas has already been informed of Troy’s destiny by the prophetic warning of Cassandra but choose to ignore it with the rest of the city.

Here we can see that in Aeneas careless behaviour he has ignored a very important message and if only he had taken a second of his valuable tie and listened he would have been able to save Troy and its people and of been a great saviour. But instead his ignorant actions have lead to great destruction and pain. When Aeneas realised that there is no hope of victory as Troy’s Gods have abandoned then he advise him and his men to go into the thick of the fighting and die! This is foolish of Aeneas, as this will not help his city at all.

All this would do is loose all of Troy best fighter and leave the people weak and defenceless with no one to lead them to safety or reassure them. Aeneas and his men come up with a crafty plan, thinking that if they wear their enemies’ armour they will be able to achieve surprise and be able to kill the Greeks easily. Although this plan falls through as the Trojan warriors mistake their own men for Greeks and shoot some of them down with arrows. Obviously this plan wasn’t thought through thoroughly.

During the war Aeneas witnesses the death of King Priam who was slaughtered at the Alter by Pyrrhus after watching his son be struck down in front of his own eyes. From this gruesome event Aeneas remembers his own dear father who he had left behind and goes back to find him. A Roman would criticise Aeneas for leaving his father in the first place but admire him for going back to save him from the clutches of death. While alone in the temple of Vesta Aeneas catches sight of Helen of Sparta, the reason the war broke out in the first place.

Aeneas is furious when he sees her and is filled with hatred. Thinking that Helen will get off scot-free he feels as though it is his duty to blot out this evil of a woman, and that he will be praised for punishing Helen as she so richly deserves it. Knowing full well that there is no honour in punishing women. Though he is restrained by his mother Venus, who advises him to leave Helen and save his own family. The Romans would surely frown on this, as a man should never kill a woman no matter what the situation, although they know that Aeneas is only human and cannot help his desire for revenge.

Aeneas has to be reminded by his goddess mother that he has a family to look after and with out this help he would have surely gone on without them. When leaving his family Aeneas has left his Father Anchises and a son should never leave his father. Aeneas is not thinking straight and his actions are showing this clearly. Though he is overcome with the urge to fight and save his city, when shown that the gods are destroying troy Aeneas finally sees that it is over for troy and returns to find his family. When Aeneas’s father refuses to leave his home Aeneas turns his back for a second time, determined to return to the fighting.

Aeneas is only thinking of himself at this point, wanting to be a great warrior so that his name is spoken of in years to come. Though he does not have all the qualities of a great fighter, as he should always put the safety of his family first. From help of the gods Anchises is persuaded to leave Troy and go with Aeneas to safety. Aeneas now takes the safety of his family into his own hands, carrying his father on his back without complaining. Aeneas takes it on himself to defend his family whatever they might run into, telling his father that they share the same dangers and follow the same road to safety.

Here he is reassuring his father that he will not leave him and that he will stay by him until they are all safe. The Romans would admire Aeneas for his brave behaviour here as he is risking his own life to make sure that him and all his family get to safety. Aeneas shows commitment when leaving Troy as with so much going on around him he still manages to remember the sacred treasures and asks his father to hold them so he won’t dirty them. Although he does make a small mistake in that through all of the frantic running and blazing fires Aeneas looses Creusa, his wife.

This could have been prevented by telling her to run beside him instead of behind or looking round every so often to check if she is all right. Aeneas only realises Creusa’s disappearance when he has reached safety of Ceres’ shrine. When Aeneas realises that Creusa has gone he suddenly panics, loosing his wits and becoming confused. Leaving his son and father while he goes back to look for Creusa. The Romans would respect Aeneas for risking his life to look for his wife who might be in danger and Aeneas does not have to worry about his son and father, as they are safe.

In Book 2 we are shown a lot of Aeneas’s behaviour, and although at the start he does forget his duty of being a husband, father and son he soon regains his knowledge and puts his own life at risk in getting his family to safety. Aeneas’s actions show that he has a love for fighting and this love may sometimes overcome his love for his family which the Romans may frown on, although he shows determination in the fight for his country, not giving up on several occasions when told there is no hope.