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Sample Analytical Paper Topics
These are topics on which you can write a substantial analytical paper. They are designed to test your understanding of major themes and details from the piece as a whole. Following the topics are outlines you can use as a starting point for writing an analytical paper.

Topic #1
Trace the course of fury and its accompanying fire-based language as used in the Aeneid. Discuss fury in the characters of Juno, Dido, and Turnus. What is its role in the book? Include an analysis of the fury of Aeneas in the final book.

I. Thesis Statement: In the Aeneid, fury is a recurring theme, often occurring with descriptions of fire. The fury of Juno, Dido, and Turnus makes them weak and irrational and increases sympathy for Aeneas and his eventual success. However, Aeneas’ domination by fury at the end of the Aeneid mars his moment of triumph.

II. Fury and Juno
_A. Examples of Juno's fury
_B. Juno's irrational actions
_C. Juno's anger causes her to attempt to subvert fate, leading to the destruction of her mortal favorites

III. Fury and Dido
_A. Dido's "burning" love
_B. Dido's fury at Aeneas' planned departure
_C. Dido's irrational actions
_D. Dido's fury and burning love cause her to act irresponsibly, causing the collapse of her ability to rule and leading to her own destruction

IV. Fury and Turnus
_A. Allecto's flame
_B. Turnus' fury in war
_C. Turnus' irresponsible actions
_D. While Turnus' fury helps to make him a good warrior, it causes him to make mistakes that bring about his down-fall

V. Fury and Aeneas
_A. Juno
__1. Juno's fury is irrational and destructive
__2. Juno increases sympathy for Aeneas, who continues to piously make offerings to her
_B. Dido
__1. Aeneas' ability to leave "burning" Dido increases sympathy for Aeneas as a pious man
__2. Dido's fury inspired irresponsibility contrasts strongly with Aeneas' consistent care for his people
_C. Turnus
__1. Turnus' irresponsible actions contrast strongly with Aeneas' calm decisions
__2. The reader concludes that Aeneas would be the better leader of Italy

VI. Conclusion: Aeneas' fury
_A. After Aeneas has been shown consistently to be responsible and rational, his actions at the end of the book are only the pious fulfillment of a promise made to Pallas' father
_B. While his fury is unfortunate, his actions are those a king must take to preserve the peace

Topic #2
Predictive dreams occur frequently in the Aeneid. Examine Aeneas' dream of Hector and Turnus' dream of Allecto. How are they similar? What comparisons do they invite the reader to draw?

I. Thesis Statement: The similar dreams of Aeneas and Turnus simultaneously introduce the different characters of the two men and tell the reader of their fates.

II. Aeneas' dream
_A. Description of dream
_B. The parting gesture of Hector
_C. Aeneas' predicted future

III. Turnus' dream
_A. Description of dream
_B. The parting gesture of Allecto
_C. Turnus' predicted future

IV. Comparison of dreams and dreamers
_A. Comparison of dreams
__1. Only dreams with dialogue between dreamers and dream
__2. Neither dreamer wants to believe the predictions
__3. Both end with the dreamer given something by a messenger
__4. Both end with simile illuminating character of dreamer
_B. Comparison of dreamers
__1. Dreamers treat messengers differently
__2. Different similes show different characters
___a. Aeneas' concern is for his people
___b. Turnus acts impulsively to fight

Topic #3
Is the evolution of Aeneas' character positive or negative? Be sure to include actions that could indicate a conclusion opposite to your own and resolve the conflict they create in your proposed interpretation.

I. Thesis Statement: Aeneas evolves positively/negatively over the course of the Aeneid.

II. Aeneas' positive evolution
_A. Accepts his destiny
_B. Leaves behind his tainted past
_C. Becomes a better leader

III. Impediments to positive view
_A. Behavior on battlefield
_B. Desertion of Dido
_C. Murder of suppliant Turnus

IV. Resolution of inconsistent behavior
_A. Aeneas must kill; it is weak to ask for mercy
_B. Aeneas is piously obeying the will of the gods when he leaves Carthage
_C. Aeneas' anger shows he is only human; Turnus would have been a threat if he had lived

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