By Michael C. J. Putnam
During this selection of twelve of his essays, exceptional Virgil student Michael Putnam examines the Aeneid from numerous assorted interpretive angles. He identifies the topics that permeate the epic, offers particular interpretations of its person books, and analyzes the poem's impression on later writers, together with Ovid, Lucan, Seneca, and Dante. furthermore, an immense essay on wrathful Aeneas and the strategies of Pietas is released right here for the 1st time.Putnam first surveys the highbrow improvement that formed Virgil's poetry. He then examines a number of of the poem's recurrent dichotomies and metaphors, together with idealism and realism, the road and the circle, and piety and fury. In succeeding chapters, he examines intimately the which means of specific books of the Aeneid and argues shut interpreting of the top of the epic is important for knowing the poem as an entire and Virgil's ambitions in composing it.
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Along with this apparent estrangement from Page 10 life there is another whole area of intent in the Eclogues which is only now becoming critically clarified. Its presence is felt idealistically in the fourth poem where Virgil, at least in his thoughts, sings a symbolic marriage hymn for the union of Rome's consul and his own "woods," of history and paradise, time and timeless, power and poetry. Carmina, the efficacy of "charming" verse, are expected to induce the youthful symbol of an era without ambition's wars.
In spite of the Sibyl's assurances that the bough would come easily and willingly to those fated to pluck it, it hesitates at Aeneas' touch. 3 There is nothing simplistic about Rome's mission or its founding hero. As for book 8, what is about to happen as the epic draws to its violent close is exactly this change from imago to res, from a craftsman's dream to present reality, from the aloof absorption of destiny by the mediation of ghost or engraved shield to its actual implementation. Aeneas must orient himself away from the artistry of his father's rhetoric and his stepfather's bronze to live the actual artes Anchises preaches, his own molding of future Roman mores.
But Aeneas is moved to act differently at the sight of the belt of Pallas which Turnus wears. Virgil is specific about this symbolism. The belt is saevi monumenta doloris, a remembrance of Aeneas' fierce grief at Pallas' death. A tangible object draws Aeneas (and Virgil's readers) away from any lofty sphere of abstract, universal moralizing to sudden reality. Virgil has been at pains to stress the personal feelings Aeneas holds for Pallas. His physical beauty is apparent to Aeneas even in death (he is called smooth, white as snow, and compared to a soft violet or drooping hyacinth).