The Aeneid Book XII

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  • Created on: 15-04-16 14:54
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  • The Aeneid Book XII
    • Turnus
      • He has a deluded faith in his own physical powers.
        • e.g. he tries and fails to lift the boundary stone
        • SIMILE: compares Turnus' paralysis to the paralysis one might feel during a nightmare
          • use of 1st plural pronoun ("we") creates sympathy for Turnus. The simile allows the audience to identify with Turnus since it makes a comparison to a feeling anyone can experience.
        • he experiences a psychological failure as well as a physical failure
        • HYPERBOLE exaggerates the weight of the boundary stone claiming that twelve men would be unable to life it
      • DEATH
        • Turnus begs as a suppliant ergo he is begging on bended knee, reaching out his hands at Aeneas.
        • Turnus' death can be expected since. When Turnus takes Pallas' baldric, Virgil hints at Fate [bk 10].
      • when taunted by Aeneas, Turnus responds by declaring that he fears the gods more than Aeneas
        • In general, Turnus is right to fear the gods more than a mortal
          • Unfortunately, in this one case, it is Aeneas and not the gods who decides Turnus' fate
    • Aeneas
      • killing Turnus
        • Aeneas neglects his father's advice to "spare the conquered" even though Turnus reminds him of Anchises in his last speech.
        • he exacts revenge leaving the epic on a disquieting note of unappeased anger
          • this differs from the Iliad at the end of which the anger is finally resolved
          • Aeneas kill Turnus because he despoils Pallas of his baldric
            • the spoils of war war were supposed to be dedicated to the gods
              • those who keep or seek the spoils of others in the Aeneid often suffer as a result e.g. Camilla dies through pursuing Chloreus for the sake of his golden armour
      • his swiftness and alertness contrasts with Turnus' eventual incompetence and paralysis
    • The Battle
      • Turnus is determined to fight Aeneas
        • lines 683- 693 SIMILE: Turnus, driving his chariot, is compared to bolder that violently crashes down a mountain
        • line 715-723 SIMILE: They are compared to fighting bulls
        • line 750-758 SIMILE: Aeneas is compared to a hunting dog. He appears predatory in contrast with Turnus, who is compared to a fleeing stag.
      • in principle, Aeneas and Turnus are evenly matched BUT in this battle Aeneas has the advantage of his Vulcan-made shield against Turnus' mortal sword
      • Virgil uses dramatic language
        • he does not romanticize war
          • Remember that the Romans had been in a constant state of war and so it was important that Virgil accurately portrayed the brutality of war
    • Divine Intervention
      • Jupiter weighs up the scales to decide the outcome of the battle
        • a similar thing happens in the Iliad: the destinies of Hector and Achilles are weighed up in the scales of Zeus
      • Aeneas tries to free his spear from an olive tree and he is unaware that this tree had been sacred to Faunus (a nuture god worshipped by the Latins)
        • Turnus prays that Aeneas will not be able to free his spear from the tree. Aeneas cannot free his spear.
          • Juturna give Turnus back his spear. Venus find this unfair and releases Aeneas' spear.
      • Jupiter and Juno make compromises
        • Juno promises to discontinue her attack on the Trojans and in return Jupiter agrees to allow the Latins to keep their name.




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