Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Epicureanism in the Aeneid

I'm just spitballing here, but did anyone else notice some semblances of Epicureanism present in the Aeneid now that we've learned what Epicureanism is? I took careful notice of how Aeneas seems to reflect both the ideals of lessening one's ambitions and enjoying the pleasures of life when in Carthage with Dido. Firstly, he should be listening to his mother, not just because of the impulse we all have to listen to our mothers, but because he has been given a divine mission to found a new city. Yet he's wasting his time and not fulfilling that ambition. Secondly, he enjoys his love life with Dido, and that I think can be considered a pleasure of life. (Even if it all ended horribly wrong...but hey, better to have loved than to have not loved at all.)

Another ideal I found similar not to the Aeneid per se in its diction but with its implications and depictions of God's being indifferent to human endeavor and suffering, which we also get from those poems we read about Helen and Leda. The gods are indifferent, which sort of implies that we should not therefore concern ourselves with the gods because they are distant and remote. Of course the second part of the ideal in Epicureanism doesn't hold true at all in the Aeneid, that the gods have no influence on human life, but let's not dwell too much on that

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