22. Study Questions Copy

  1. Why do you think Juno continues to object to Aeneas when she knows that his destiny is fixed? Is this seemingly illogical point just a device to drive the plot? Look to Book 1 12-32 for reasons for her hostility: https://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/VirgilAeneidI.php

It does seem odd that if she knows Aeneas has a fixed destiny to found Rome (and will succeed), her objections and interference seem remarkable futile. I suspect there may be several reasons why she is allowed to interfere:

  • to allow Aeneas to show qualities of endurance, bravery and pietas (the qualities which Romans liked to see in themselves)
  • She knows he will succeed but wishes there to be a great personal cost
  • Virgil is modelling his epic on Homer, so needs to include similar elements (the duel between Turnus and Aeneas mirrors that of Achilles and Hector)
  • Roman gods are anthropomorphic and therefore are fallible? They are certainly not omnipotent or omniscient, and even the gods are subservient to destiny.

Perhaps he is allowing her to vent her anger, knowing she ultimately must accede to him.

That she cease her interference.

If you have previously thought about ancient gods in the same way as modern religious views of a supreme being, you may be surprised. But if you have read any Homer or Greek tragedy, or read the myths of Ovid, you will see that Virgil’s gods are just as vindictive, jealous, angry, whimsical, and impetuous as their Greek counterparts.


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