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When comparing the Aeneid to the Odyssey one notices the unsubtle similarities between Homer’s epics and Virgil’s

When comparing the Aeneid to the Odyssey one notices the unsubtle similarities between Homer’s epics and Virgil’s. Both leading characters leave troy after a decade long quarrel amongst each others nations, with a common goal of reaching home. Given, one victorious, Odysseus, and the other, Aeneis, having defeat hang over his head. The accounts of each Hero’s journeys are uncannily similar and have various parallels. The most intriguing similarity, and the topic of this essay, is the two visits to the underworld. Before distinguishing the two views on the underworld one must see clearly the motivations for creating the epics. Homer’s Odyssey was written to entertain while the purpose of Virgil’s was to appease Augustus and honor his pursuit of peace. The two visits share a similar purpose, they both trips are necessary to complete their quest. During their visits both encounter similar figures: friends, foes and parents. Also both are accompanied by a god the similarities end here and the contrast begins with the authors description of the visits. A main point of contrast is the different perceptions of the underworld. This can be seen in the way that Homer’s hell is characterized more as a place filled with darkness and drudge where as Virgil uses hell to glorify Rome. Another point of contrast between the two accounts is what the characters focus on during their visit. Aeneid focused on the future while Odysseus is more concerned with the past. By distinguishing the difference between the two Epic’s visits to the underworld will give one a better understanding of the overall message being conveyed.

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