Student Question

What are the major and less obvious conflicts in The Aeneid, and what types are they (physical, moral, intellectual, internal)?

Quick answer:

The major conflicts in The Aeneid are Aeneas’s internal conflict in choosing between love and duty, physical conflicts in the war between the Trojans and the Italians and in combat between individuals, and moral conflict in Aeneas’s vengeance after Pallas’s death.

Expert Answers

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In this lengthy epic that includes love stories and wars, a wide variety of conflicts can be found. As the story centers on Aeneas, he is involved in most of the major conflicts. Some of those are personal, as he struggles with his emotions. As an individual, he experiences internal and moral conflicts. Some of the physical conflicts involve his individual actions, while he is also a leading participant in the large-scale physical conflict of the war.

Aeneas endures a powerful internal conflict as he must choose between love, as Dido is pressuring him to do, and his duty as prophesied by Apollo’s Oracle at Delos. Once he accepts the responsibility that has been placed on him and leads his men to Italy, the land of Latinus, physical conflict dominates much of the work. Aeneas finds himself a war-time leader, as Virgil lays out the physical conflict of the war between the Trojans and the Italians. Smaller-scale, individual physical conflicts are the fight between Turnus and Pallas, and later between Turnus and Aeneas. After Turnus kills the youth, Aeneas flies into a rage. Once he has started to wreak vengeance, his determination wanes, indicating a moral conflict he experiences after killing Lausus.

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