Aeneas and Fate
My life was full of despair and remorse. The only thing I
had to look forward to was the quest for the land that
would become the famous Roman Empire. During my life, I was
but a pawn of the gods in the effort to secure this
destiny. Occasionally there were happy times but mostly I
had been filled with suffering, the victim of circumstance
after circumstance, and my family was also made to suffer.
I am Aeneas, a great Trojan warrior and king, and unable to
deter the unhappiness that Fate had brought upon me.
After the great war we fought against the Greeks, over a
woman, I was forced to leave. In my dreams and by my
mother's will, my family had to leave Troy in order for the
Trojans and their gods to live. Against my will I left the
battle and collected my family, including my father who
needed added encouragement from the gods above on Olympus,
and we departed that land we had always called home. In
that process, I lost my loving wife, Cruesa, to those
murdering Greeks. I tried to retrieve her but her wish as
well was for me to continue on my journey with our son,
Ascanius, to ensure the population of the Trojan people in
a distant land.
With my son, my father, and the rest of the survivors
willing to follow me to a new land, I went over the
mountains and set sail for Italy. The first place we
visited was the great island of Sicily, with its "famous
king of Trojan blood, Acestes", where we were welcomed and
invited to stay on to make this place our home (Virgil
I:169-170). It was during this visit that I lost my father,
We politely declined this offer and again set sail. Little
did we know Juno, having known of the future Rome
destroying her favorite city of Carthage, set up a storm to
try to avert our passage to what would become our new
homeland and was temporarily successful. I did end up in
Carthage and, oh, the beauty of the Queen. Dido, a woman to
be admired, had lost the love of her life by her brother's
hand and was able to go on and begin the framework of a
very successful city. She had, however, sworn never to love
again but was guided by the goddesses, Juno and Venus (my
mother) to give her heart to me. I returned her love fully,
but reminded by the god Mercury that my destiny awaited in
another land, was forced against my will to leave Dido's
side which caused her death.
Towards my destiny I then moved, and after a dream visited
by my father, I landed on Italian soil and consulted The
Sibyl to take me to the world of the shades. There I saw
many of my comrades and Dido, who was still so angry she
would not speak to me, and finally what my father intended:
the Great Romans that were to come of my ancestry. As the
settlement of Italy begins, a war breaks out and I was
visited by my mother who is bearing gifts of armor to keep
me safe from harm. Her husband, Vulcan, hand crafted the
armor and the shield on which I finally was able to see why
all the anguish I had endured was necessary. There on the
shield was the entire story of the Rome to come and my
descendants that would ensure its existence and maintain
its power for generations.
I married Lavinia, after having to battle and defeat Turnus
which was not an easy task with Juno on his side. I lived
with war and trouble and died before my time, as Dido bid
me as her death wish after I left her, but it was all for
the greater good. Our Trojan ways were eventually
incorporated into the Latin culture also granted to Dido by
the gods, but that was just one more sacrifice to be made.
Although not mortally by his side, I was able to see my son
and his descendants go on to found the city of Rome and the
great Roman Empire. I was immortalized and able to see the
happenings as foretold to me by my father and on the shield
carefully crafted by Vulcan and I was, probably for the
first time, able to be happy with Fate.
Virgil, The Aeneid. The Norton Anthology of World
Masterpieces. Vol. 1. 6th ed. Ed. Maynard Mack, Bernard
M.W. Knox, John C. McGallaird, P.M. Pasinetti, Howard E.
Hugo, Patricia Meyer Spacks, Rene Wellek, Kenneth Douglas,
and Sarah Lawall. New York: W.W. Norton, 1992. 841-917.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Virgil: Modern Critical Views. New York:
Chelsea House Publishers. 1986.
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