Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dante and Aeneas

I believe the characters Dante and Aeneas can be compared in a similar way. They are both on a quest to find something. Dante searches for the path of Heaven, salvation, and God. Aeneas is also on a quest to find Italy and found Rome. Both quests are somehow destined by the gods. God and the Powers of Above are Dante's guiding light to Heaven and salvation, while the many Greek and Roman gods are the guide for Aeneas's search. Although parallels between these two characters' quests can be drawn, they that each author portrays them is different. Virgil celebrates Aeneas' honor and how he suppresses his individuality by honoring what the gods desired from him. In The Divine Comedy, we see Dante more is more concerned with portraying his individual and spiritual growth and close be becomes to God. These two different writing styles are mainly due to the fact that The Aeneid is a tragedy and The Divine Comedy is a comedy.

3 comments:

Austin Falk said...

I agree that although Dante and Aeneas are on similar quests, there goals are different. Dante seems to be attached much more spiritually to honoring God and doing what he wants while Aeneas seems to be on the quest for personal honor. This makes a lot of sense if you look at the background of the authors. Dante was a Christian while Virgil was not. This explains why Dante would want his character (Dante the Pilgrim) to have a journey based on what God wants him to do. Aeneas, on the other hand, is not so interested in God as Virgil is not a Christian.

Lindsay A said...

I think Aeneas' quest is more duty bound. He follows the Roman belief that actions should be done in the interest of the greater society. Dante, on the other hand, is focused more on his own individual development from the experience. While the Divine Comedy is written for the masses, readers are supposed to learn from the experiences of Dante and his own personal character development.

Michell D said...

I think both of you make important points, but I think Dante borrows so much from the Aeneid in an effort to honor Virgil. I don't want to reiterate what Austin said, but I think a lot of the differences come from their religious backgrounds. As a Christian, Dante really references back to God to respect him while Aeneas doesn't really care because he is more of a free spirit. I think Dante is generally trying to portray himself in the best light possible while Virgil doesn't care as much about Aeneas looks.