Aeneid Questions and Answers
by Virgil

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What role does fate play in the "Aeneid"?

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Fate is everything in The Aeneid. In writing his epic, mythologized account of Rome's origins, Virgil wanted to convey the message that Rome's rise to greatness and world domination was by no means accidental: it was always fated to happen; it was the will of the gods. In founding the new city on the Tiber, Aeneas is fulfilling a divine mission. Though he still has some degree of leeway in carrying out his numerous heroic deeds, the overall shape of his mission has been pre-determined by the gods. The gods, in their infinite wisdom, have decided that Rome must be founded, and the noble Trojan warrior Aeneas is the mortal instrument they've chosen to put their plan into effect.

Individuals can certainly defy fate, but only for a relatively short time. No mortal can hold back the tide of fate forever. So Aeneas can dally for a while at Carthage, to spend more time with his lover Dido, but before long, he must be on his way, embarking upon the next stage of his mission. Though everything that...

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