The role of the gods and goddesses in the Aeneid
The book of the Aeneid is a very interesting book in many aspects, been one of them the relationship among the main character Aeneas, the goddesses and the gods, even though the book of the Aeneid was writing by Virgil which work was commissioned by the emperor Augustus Caesar (63 B.C 14 C.E), to serve as piece of propaganda for the empire. And although there is an underline political intention with this text, there are other topics in the book that the author spends a great deal of time in order to get his message across to the educated audience of the time.
At the beginning of book after the Greeks take possession of the city of Troy, it is clear that in order for Aeneas to become the leader of the Roman people he must have throughout his journey the intervention of the gods and goddesses. And this idea is first communicated to him by his wife Creusa hours before his leave her and the city of Troy, Nothing here has come to pass except as heaven willed (Aeneid 60.1009). These are very important words that at first can be overlook by the readers. But after a closet analysis this message from Aeneas wife it encloses the main idea behind this work of literature, which is founded on the idea that the Roman people came to existence because the gods will (Jupiter). And the objective of the main character (Aeneas) was to found the Roman empire, in other for the Romans to rule Earths peoples for you arts are to be these: to pacify, to impose the rules of law, to spare the conquered, battle down the proud (Aeneid 190. 1152). Therefore, Aeneas without a doubt was a leader that had as mission to create the Roman Empire, but he journey that awaiting him ahead will shape him to become the hero of his people. Even though the merits of his own action are accredited to him, it is also clear that for the job that is ahead of him will required the assistant of the god Jupiter and the goddesses Venus (his mother) in order for him to completed his voyage, and an example can be seem at the beginning of book one when he call for help during the Greek invation of city of Troy Omnipotent Jupiter, if prayers affect you, look down upon us, that is all I ask (Aeneid 57.898), clear example that his human power were limited and the help of the gods was needed by him.
Once Aeneas sail from his homeland to the sea the goddesses Juno will try the impossible to make his trip the most daunting task. And even though Juno doesnt achieve her objective as result that Aeneas one more time has to call the gods for help in order for them to intervene in front a imminent catastrophe Gods , he said, Turn back this thing foreboded! (Aeneid 75.357). It is clear that from now on the sister and wife of Jupiter will be the main enemy of Aeneas. Even tough it has been state that him leader of the roman people must prepare great walls for a great race (Aeneid 71.223), meaning the foundation of the roman city. Therefore, this type of ideas that he will establish the Roman Empire and yet have mortals and immortals enemies during his journeys, show that no matter what happen for now on his goal will be fulfill. For that reason, this type of certainty about the foundation of the Roman Empire creates on the reader a feeling of doubt about how fate or destiny plays throughout the book and the true power of the gods and goddesses on the main character, even the author for a time make a comment that support this suspicion He came to Italy by destiny (Aeneid 3.3).
Furthermore, the idea of fate or destiny goes away for a time on book four when Aeneas spend some time with the queen of Carthage Dido. During this period things look very calm for Aeneas, a possible romance start to flourish with the queen, even though there was a divine interest behind all this events. As result of Juno intervention in secrecy by placing Cupid in the queen court in order to create an attraction toward Aeneas which feelings will lead to the death of the queen. Due to fact that the roman leader must leave her side in order to pursuit his duty the foundation of Rome, even though he feels that he should stay longer in Carthage I sail for Italy not of my own free will (Aeneid 108.499). Aeneas shows that even though he doesnt want to leave, he must obey the call of the gods. And for the first time is observable that a hero sometime becomes prisoner of his own destiny, which fortune could be impose by other. Furthermore, this type of behavior of discomfort shows the human side of the hero. When he expresses the desire to spend some time close to Dido, even though he might not loved her as she love him, he feel that by him staying with her a little longer he could make her feel better Duty-bound, Aeneas , though he struggled with desire to calm and comfort her in all her pain (Aeneid 110.545). But again in order for Aeneas to be a real hero for his people he must show that duty come first than anything else in his life. Even though that might lead sometimes to personal unhappiness, Aeneas even goes to the extent to express the fact that one day he will like to have a normal life like everyone else around him. But before that could happen he must finish his duty if fate permitted me to spend my days by my own lights, and make the best of things according to my wishes, first of all I should look after Troy and the loved relics left me of my people (Aeneid 107. 469).
Another aspect of the relation between the main character and goddesses is clearly shown in his own personal relationship with his mother (Venus). Even though at first he doesnt recognized her as his own mother, later in the book his relation with her growth from what it used to be at the beginning of the book. Later she becomes more and more apparent to him and she determines in greatness the faith of his son. Venus protects his son from anyone that might cross his path making him the true leader of the roman people. And anyone that might to stop that from happening will get punish by her.
Finally during book six there are going to occur changes in Aeneas on how he see himself, and his relationships the with gods and goddesses. At the beginning of book four there is some resembled of what happen during the past. Especially when Aeneas has the opportunity to tell Dido some of the things that he would have like to express to her in Carthage The gods commands drove me to do their will, as now they drive me through this world of shades (Aeneid 176.621). He admits that he was wrong on his action, but the gods told him that he must continue with his journey to Rome. During the time when Aeneas goes to the underworld, he comes to understanding that nothing that he wishes to happen will actually occur, only and only if he gets the gods and goddesses support, such as the consent from Jupiter and Venus. Therefore, later in the book eight while Aeneas is getting ready to battle, we can see already a new man and at times to present himself as individual he mention the fact that he is a different kind of leader, someone with the gods blessing, with a wisdom that a few might posses and anyone that become his friend in battle will see victory I am the man who heaven calls. This sign my goddess mother prophesied show would send if war broke out (Aeneid 248.725).
There are lot elements in the Aeneid about the relation among the main character, the gods and goddesses. Many of this elements are given by the author Virgil very clear to the reader, other are hidden in the text. But both are important to understanding of a character that some time the reader grows like and other times to dislike. Overall, Aeneas is an individual that through the story show the skill of a warrior, the charisma of a leader and the personality of humble individual that doesnt have the freedom to make his own decisions. In addition, he also has a human side to him, and there is where the character get influence by the gods and goddesses will, they dont care what Aeneas think or feels at time. The goddesses Venus and the god Jupiter used Aeneas as an instrument to materialize foundation of Rome.