After today's class, I kept wondering why Frazer would use the "golden bough" from Vergil's "Aeneid" as his title for his analysis of religion, magic, and science.
The Sibyl tells Aeneas in Book 6 to seek the golden bough, which is sacred to Proserpina (Persephone), the queen of the underworld. His acquisition of the golden bough allows Aeneas to travel through the underworld safely to meet his father, Anchises. I think it is interesting that the Golden Bough connects to the Sibyl, who is a prophetess similar to Madame Sostris in Eliot's "The Wasteland."
Perhaps Frazer calls his work "The Golden Bough" to link the mysterious talisman type object symbolizing life in midst of death with his ideas of magic and religion. In Book 6, Vergil creates an epic simile comparing the golden bough to mistletoe, considered a magical plant because in the dead of winter when everything else appeared dead, mistletoe still flourished. The “golden bough" that still flourishes may stand for magic, since Frazer discusses the infallible nature of magic in the excerpt we read today. Or perhaps the “golden bough” represents something else. What do you all think?