Aeneid Character and Theme Quotes


Essential Quotes by Character: Aeneas

Essential Passage 1: Book I

Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc'd by fate,
And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate,
Expell'd and exil'd, left the Trojan shore.
Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore,
And in the doubtful war, before he won
The Latian realm, and built the destin'd town;
His banish'd gods restor'd to rites divine,
And settled sure succession in his line,
From whence the race of Alban fathers come,
And the long glories of majestic Rome.


Aeneas begins his tale by stating his purpose: to relate his journey from defeated Troy (following the Trojan War) to Italy, where he was to lay the foundations of the city that would become Rome. He says every step of his journey has been made difficult by the wrath of Juno, who had taken sides against Troy in the war in favor of Greece. To the very end, Juno solicited other gods and goddesses to aid her in hindering Aeneas from fulfilling his destiny as the founder of Rome. Weathering the storms and difficulties of the sea voyage, Aeneas must then face a war not of his choosing against the Latins who resided in Italy at the time.

Essential Passage 2: Book I

Thus while he dealt it round, the pious chief
With cheerful words allay'd the common grief:
"Endure, and conquer! Jove will soon dispose
To future good our past and present woes.
With me, the rocks of Scylla you have tried;

(The entire section is 1294 words.)

Essential Quotes by Theme: Duty

Essential Passage 1: Book I

O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate;
What goddess was provok'd, and whence her hate;
For what offense the Queen of Heav'n began
To persecute so brave, so just a man;
Involv'd his anxious life in endless cares,
Expos'd to wants, and hurried into wars!
Can heav'nly minds such high resentment show,
Or exercise their spite in human woe?


As the tale begins, the poet asks the Muse, the spirit of inspiration, the causes of all the ill that was faced by Aeneas in his journey to Italy. Juno, the “Queen of Heav’n,” became his nemesis on the voyage, conspiring each step of the way to halt the Trojan’s destiny to found a new Troy in Latium. Aeneas is called “the pious” in the original Latin, here translated “just.” That such a dutiful man should be exposed to such struggles and forced into wars not of his choosing seems unjust to the poet. It is inconceivable that the immortal gods would cause such woe to such a noble hero. Juno's simple jealousy forces the gods and goddesses of Olympus to take sides as the surviving Trojans journey to find a new home.

Essential Passage 2: Book IV

Here paus'd the queen. Unmov'd he holds his eyes,
By Jove's command; nor suffer'd love to rise,
Tho' heaving in his heart; and thus at length replies:
"Fair queen, you never can enough repeat
Your boundless favors, or I own my debt;
Nor can my mind forget...

(The entire section is 1528 words.)