This is a prompt essay based on the poem, “The Aeneid of Virgil a verse translation by Allen Mandelbaum.” In this poem a story of a Trojan prince Aeneas is seen making a long journey from Troy  to Italy. The prince and his followers settled in Italy and laid down the foundations of the Roman Empire. Jackson Knight (n.d.) gives a clear picture of the context in which the text is written: “a poet’s picture of the world, where human affairs are controlled by human and superhuman influences” (Knight Para. 1).  The essay is divided into two sections which answers the following questions:

  • Does Aeneas’ journey fit the journey motif?
  • What does Aeneas learn along the way to the Promised Land –Rome? 

Section I: Does Aeneas’ Journey fit the Journey motif?

The author sets the stage in a very clear manner for the epic journey. Aeneas is defeated and the way out is to flee. The battle is depicted as fierce and the circumstances surrounding it terrible, “o three and four times blessed were those who died before their fathers’ eyes  beneath the walls of Troy”( Moser and Virgil 4). The survivors from Troy where Aeneas is one of them at first sought to get asylum from the Phoenicians. The survivors then moves forth to Italy where Etruscans is established. The author depicts the kind of journey that the survivors go through prior to the establishment of Etruscans, “across the lands and waters he was battered beneath the violence of high ones” (Moser and Virgil 1). Aeneas’ journey can be said to meet the journey motif basing the reasoning from the circumstances under which Aeneas finds himself and the need for him to get an alternative in form of a new home.

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Section II:  what Aeneas learn on the way to the Promised Land

The journey to the Promised Land is not a smooth one. He learns most of his lessons on his way to Rome. There is deviation from his early not careful attitude to being careful in making decisions. Together with the survivors they learn how to live together and move as a unit through hard times. He learns to hold on and endure through hard circumstances. Reading through the poem, a reader encounters life threatening situations. The situations harden Aeneas into believing that one should not despair in any situation.

Aeneas is seen to be strengthened by the calamities he has gone through. It seems he has learnt never to despair even where there seems to be no hope. He encourages his followers, “it is decreed that there the realm of Troy will rise again: Hold out, and save yourselves for kinder days” (Moser and Virgil 8).  Aeneas learns how to encourage his followers and gives them a sense of hope in their struggles. Above all he has learnt to have the spirit of never letting go. His efforts finally bear fruits after he establishes Rome thus he sees the decree come true.

This poem is exemplary as it vividly shows the establishment of an empire which later grows to make greater achievements. The poem teaches many lessons to any reader going through it. It teaches on endurance in the face of hardships, holding on onto hope where there seems to be no hope. Reading the poem one gets to understand the reason why hard situations should never bring somebody down.

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