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Aeneid Versus The Iliad and The Odyssey: Comparative Analysis

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In my opinion, Virgil didn’t imitate Homer with Aeneid, however Virgil simply expanded on Homer’s ideas and wrote in his own words through his poem. Instead of rewriting Iliad or Odyssey, Virgil continues the story after the fall of Troy using Aeneas. Virgil uses a lot of Homer’s images patterns like the symbol of fire, the shield, gates, and the underworld, but they were both used in a different context.

Virgil emphasizes fire as a symbol for destruction and desire, much like it did in Iliad, but not as aggressive. Fire is not only used for anger and rage, but to describe human emotion. A fire ignites in Dido’s heart when she falls in love with Aeneas. Somewhat like, Homer describes Achilles’ anger as a raging fire.

The next symbolism is gates, the gates are used in both poems, by Hector and Aeneas and their both Trojans. In the Iliad, the Trojans hid behind the Skaian Gates for protection. Likewise, in the Aeneid, Aeneas men stayed behind the gates of their fortress. Aeneas wasn’t there during the attack, but Aeneas did give order before he left. The gates weren’t a big part of the comparison, but Hector and Aeneas are both Trojans and during the war they both hid their men behind the gates. It shows similarities between the Iliad and Aeneid.

Another symbolism is the image of the shield. In both poems Aeneas and Achilles were given shields from the gods to protect them in battle. Achilles was given a shield by Greek god Hephaestus, the images on the shield depict scenes of war and peace. Aeneas shield was made by Vulcan, The shield functions as a symbol of the destiny of Rome and Aeneas’s fate.

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The Homeric epics focus more on simpler heroic glory, as well as their own separate themes. The Iliad is an epic based on war politics and battles, on the importance of glory and protecting one’s city or honor. The Odyssey continues many of these themes, but also focuses more on travel, foreignness, magic, and home. The Aeneid is clearly based at least in part on the style of the Homeric epics, but is more refined. The Iliad and Odyssey, on the other hand, are suspected to have been orally composed, leading to more reliance on repetition structures to assist the composing poet. All are different, all are similar. All have their charms. I think the Aeneid is the Trojan version of the Odyssey.

Near the end of both wars, each hero must face and kill a final foe: as Achilles kills Hector, the bravest of the Trojan army, Aeneas kills the hero of the Latins, Turnus. Although both epics end with a hero’s death. Yet The Aeneid ends with Turnus’ death and no call for remorse. In the Aeneid, Turnus killing is necessary and I think justified. It brings about the end of the war and ultimately clears the way for the birth of Rome, but Aeneas is not without loss. He must give up his homeland and leave behind his love for Dido, to fulfill his destiny. He is not conflicted by the intense emotions that drive Achilles because of his sense of loyalty and duty to the mission of his people.

The Aeneid and Iliad also had some differences. In the Iliad, Achilles doesn’t even care about the Trojan War until Hector kills Patroclus. At the end of the epic, Achilles considers not killing Hector, but when he sees him wearing Patroclus’ sword belt, which Hector took from the man’s dead body, he kills the prince in a raging fire. He then feels remorseful and gives the body to Hector’s father so he can have a proper burial. So, Achilles seems like a man very much controlled by emotion. But Aeneas is driven by a sense of duty; a god gave him a task and he must complete it. He doesn’t go through the emotional turmoil that Achilles’ experiences. He fights so his people have a place to live and kills his enemy Turnus at the end because it’s necessary to end the war and find Rome, showing no remorse. So once again, the differences between Aeneid And the Iliad Show that Romans were driven by the need to obey their gods and do something for the good of their people.

Aeneid vs the Iliad and the Odyssey. In conclusion, because Virgil referenced the great epics of Homer when writing Aeneid, there are many similarities between his story and those of his inspiration. I didn’t see that many differences between the three epics because Aeneas is somewhat like Achilles and Odysseus, Aeneas is smart, strong, loyal, and emotional just like Achilles and Odysseus. Aeneas and Achilles are not emotional people but near the ends of their poems they didn’t show any mercy towards Hector and Turnus, because they killed their close friends Achilles and Aeneas killed them without any remorse.

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Aeneid Versus The Iliad and The Odyssey: Comparative Analysis. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 21, 2023, from
“Aeneid Versus The Iliad and The Odyssey: Comparative Analysis.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
Aeneid Versus The Iliad and The Odyssey: Comparative Analysis. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Sept. 2023].
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