Homer’s Odyssey and Vergil’s Aeneid:
Commentary by Robert Nathan Richardson
I will show how the Odyssey was positive and encouraging for people like the Aeneid also, and importance of God’s and man’s wills. Homer shows men act and Gods help, Virgil shows Gods act and men are pawns, but in a good way. Both are Heros to look up to- Aeneis commanded ship men to stay true on scary waters to Italy, Odysseus helped the men stay strong when approaching the island where Polythenia the one eyed moister lived.
They both like humans and revere the God’s- Aneieus helped his dad get away from their homeland in Troy so he would be safe even carrying him on his back (and wept for the welfare of others). He acted that way to the Gods also, trying to pay due respect to their wishes, and believed that as he did that he would be protected- He was – Odysseus on the other hand would pray to Gods for aid but go do his own thing. Oddysius and Penelope were very shrewd, both of them, whereas Aneius and his Dita were very opposite, he being stern, she being kind.
Aneius was self centered- political movement over family- they both united with then left women on their journeys, but Homers moves were to help him get to his family, and those of Aneius were to establish a political kingdom, Rome. There is some sympathy for Aneius however, seeing as how his homeland was taken over.
Both Homer and Virgil play up the character to be the role model for human beings, and better than anyone ever known up to that point.
Odysseus was more like a spy, having to often wait to reveal his identity like when he was with Cyclops, and waited until he was rowing softly away before he deemed it safe to reveal his identity and also in Ithica making sure all was as how to best do things based on his intellect that might otherwise fail whereas Aneius could show up and off the cuff take over and win every time.
Odysseus was a more solitaire journeyer, not so much support, being cast from one island to the next we hear little of his companions although he does have some at times. Aneius we find in more battle situations, and we only hear of Odysseus’ past battle experiences. They’re similar because the main victory of the battle over Troy was given to Odysseus, and the main person who founded Rome was Aneius. There are enemies to these heroes. It seems that for Odysseus, the God Zeus is only looking out for him because he was a just fellow, and the Gods value justice and just people getting, by blessing the just persons, the Gods are making a good investment so to say, getting something back for what they put in -but Aneius seems to be secure in his destiny (from the readers point of view maybe not from the point of view of Aneius) because he is the one whose fate is elected to start Rome. The Gods seem to actually like him a lot more than Odysseus since Odysseus got tossed around the sea more, and had more one on one battles than Aeneius- aka more life threatening encounters. Aeneius’s mom is a God named Venus, naturally he would have a lot of help. It’s to say he is part God himself, whereas Odysseus was only aided y Pallus Athena to look like a God sometimes when he needed to persuade people. We see Odysseus as being as it were, a lot more proved to real human infirmities dispute his zeal- like when he found himself on the island of the Athenians he was so beat up he looked like driftwood- even left naken. Also Odysseus, who usually held his composure, yelled out his true identity when sailing away from Polythenus to irritate him. Odysseus was very good at wowing people- all the girls wanted to have him, from Athena, to Calypso, to the daughter of the king of the Athenians and so on. Odysseus had to earn his respect with people who didn’t know him whereas Aeneius seemed to have a self inherent respect.
There is an enemy to Odysseus namely the suiters for his wife Penelope waiting back at home where he was the king of Ithica, and Aeneius had a foe as well that he ended up killing, but it was just one man instead of a myriad of suiters. Odysseus had already helped Ithica, and wanted to go there again to keep things, especially his nuclear family but also his kingdom there, in order. Aeneius had a different path, he was aging to establish the great mighty God-ordained Rome. He had a lot bigger of a mission to go on to, whereas Odysseus seemed a lot more normal of a person, but oh the way he introduced himself and spoke so dazzlingly to people- like when he begged for the mercy of clothing from the Athenian princess and called her a Godess, asking her if she was so. It seemed Odysseus earned his favor with Zeus, and Aeneius was just picked to settle Rome etc. because of who his mother was. It seems the Odysseus was a lot more refined of a man because he kept his composure and haddly ever wept except for on one occasion where the Athenasian Islanders were having a festival celebrating the grandeur and losses of Troy. Odyseus seems more independent. Odysseus seemed more family centered that being his main drive (even though he obediently his family for a season out of obedience to the Gods). We hear about how Aeneus was entrusted with the tootilage of a lad at war times, but Odysseus and his son worked very closely together to restore unity and normality in their home against the suitors.
Homer’s Odyssey appeals more to the human side of people because it is a man always on the edge. Virgil’s Aeneuid is unique in that it is a telling of a preexisting tale but in a different way, but that the main hero is more unable to fail makes it less applicable to the reader (perhaps the Romans wanted to look better than the Greeks by having a more invaluable hero). It is to say, “Join the strong establishment of the Gods” whereas Homers Odyssey is to say, “Do all you can in your sphere”. Rome and Greece are both noble places on some accounts, but the literature proses that Rome was the best, that it was what had been waiting to happen.
These works were both to show the art of language since they utilized language (Homer in Greek, Virgil in Latin) like no one else did. Both are to teach of what humans do when pushed to their limits, like Dita’s suicide and Penelope’s strange putting off suitors for 20 years awaited her husbands return. Hence both teach the valor of women being true to whom they fall in love with. Both depict that the best woman type is a strong woman. Dita was a great leader of a warrior people and Penelope was strong and wise enough to trick suitors and not give in to twenty long years of their relentless antagonism (they were after power she had etc.) After Dita’s husband was killed she shut down, as did Penelope when Odysseus was so long gone, but powerful deep hope was shown in both of them by Penelope awaiting the return of her Odysseus, and Dita in opening her heart again once she had found this new love Aeneius. They both show a woman’s dedication to her husband as being a key trait of their valor.
Both works are extremely religious where God’s and mortals are constantly involved in each others affairs. The Gods want the mortals to acknowledge them and let them run the show in The Aeneid, while in the Odyssey it’s more of a dog eat dog situation, but for anyone who is super determined like Odysseus, a Goddess will, like Pallas Athena, help you where you would otherwise fail. Both heroes get helped by The Gods, but in the Aeneid the big picture is displayed- the Gods want a utopia society so they have one man make it happen. In the Odyssey, it’s like the Gods are letting the mortals figure things out, and helping them as they ask for it, like Odysseus constantly praying, seemingly getting his cunning as a gift from the Gods because he asked for it.