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;
Th' inhuman Cyclops and his den defied.
What greater ills hereafter can you bear?
Resume your courage and dismiss your care,
An hour will come, with pleasure to relate
Your sorrows past, as benefits of Fate.
Thro' various hazards and events, we move
To Latium and the realms foredoom'd by Jove.
Call'd to the seat (the promise of the skies)
Where Trojan kingdoms once again may rise,
Endure the hardships of your present state;
Live, and reserve yourselves for better fate."
These words he spoke, but spoke not from his heart;
His outward smiles conceal'd his inward smart.


Aeneas and his flotilla of the remnant inhabitants of Troy have survived the storm sent them by Juno. Landing on the North African coast of Libya and then climbing up a steep mountain crag, Aeneas looks for signs of the remaining ships, for only seven have arrived intact. Seeing nothing, he returns to the Trojans and gives them words of encouragement. They have faced rougher conditions before and come out alive, he tells them. He has faith that some god will grant them a successful end to their present trial. He encourages them to put aside grief and fear. Fate has destined them to land in Latium and live in peace. They should save their strength for better times to come. Although sick with worry, he hides his feelings for the benefit of his people.

Essential Passage 3: Book XII

Aeneas then unsheath'd his...

(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 Eliza's name,
While vital breath inspires this mortal frame.
This only let me speak in my defense:
I never hop'd a secret flight from hence,
Much less pretended to the lawful claim
Of sacred nuptials, or a husband's name.
For, if indulgent Heav'n would leave me free,
And not submit my life to fate's decree,
My choice would lead me to the Trojan shore,
Those relics to review, their dust adore,
And Priam's ruin'd palace to restore.
But now the Delphian oracle commands,
And fate invites me to the Latian lands.
That is the promis'd place to which I steer,
And all my vows are terminated there.
If you, a Tyrian, and a stranger born,
With walls and tow'rs a Libyan town adorn,
Why may not we- like you, a foreign race-
Like you, seek shelter in a foreign place?
As often as the night obscures the skies
With humid shades, or twinkling stars arise,
Anchises' angry ghost in dreams appears,
Chides my delay, and fills my soul with fears;
And young Ascanius justly may complain
Of his defrauded and destin'd reign.
Ev'n now the herald of the gods appear'd:
Waking I saw him, and his message heard.
From Jove he came commission'd, heav'nly bright
With radiant beams, and manifest to sight
(The sender and the sent I both attest)
These walls he enter'd, and those words express'd.
Fair queen, oppose not what the gods command;
Forc'd by my fate, I leave your happy land."


Shipwrecked by Juno's storm, Aeneas and seven of his ships land on the Lybian coast. Thinking that all were lost, Aeneas enters into the city of Carthage, ruled by Dido, who had fled from an abusive brother in Tyre. Juno has persuaded Cupid to shoot his dart of love into Dido so that she is consumed with lust for Aeneas. Aeneas, overjoyed on finding his crew in Carthage, agrees to Dido’s plea that he stay there and take part in the building of the city. At last he is persuaded by Hermes, the messenger from Jupiter, that he has forsaken his duty in remaining in Carthage. He must leave the city at once and...

(The entire section is 1528 words.)