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Imagery in the aeneid

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  • 2. IMAGERY IN BOOK 1 Virgil frequently uses imagery (the use of symbols to describe actual events) in The Aeneid . For each of the examples of imagery listed below, explain what event the image represents. Extension Question : Why do you think Virgil chose to use this imagery? 3. Bees hard at work (pg.40) 2. Swans pursued by an eagle. (pg.39) 5. “Invisible Fire” (pgs.47-49)
    • A man calming a riotous crowd. (pgs.31-32)
    4. The goddess Diana (pg.43)
  • 3. THE EAGLE AND THE SWANS This one is tricky and there are a couple of different interpretations. In each case, the "12 swans, gaily in line" represent Aeneas's ships, on their way to Italy. "Jupiter's eagle", which scatters the swans, represents the storm. This is where it gets a bit tricky, and there are two interpretations: 1. The reference to 'Jupiter's eagle' just shows that the storm was an act of one of the gods, in this case Juno. OR 2. The reference is to show that the storm was part of the Divine Plan, that is approved by Jupiter himself. Which is more likely?  This is getting into quite sophistated reading of the Aeneid.  I think the first interpretation more likely, because Jupiter has not approved of the storm, the storm is Juno's attempt to divert Aeneas from the Divine Plan that Jupiter is responsible for making happen. Further evidence that Jupiter does not approve of the storm and its outcomes is in Book Four, where he tells Aeneas to move on from Carthage ASAP. Later in Book IV Dido's death is described as "neither by destiny nor a death deserved" (good quote to remember). Thus that consequence of the storm was not part of the Divine Plan either. No matter which interpretation of the meaning of the eagle you go with, the message of the image is a positive one. The swans have been scattered, pursued "across the whole breadth of the sky" by the eagle, but will "come safely home" as per earlier prophecies that have guaranteed the safety of the Trojans on the latter stages of their journey.
  • 4.
    • “ Twelve swans behold in beauteous order move, And stoop with closing pinions from above; Whom late the bird of Jove had driv'n along, And thro' the clouds pursued the scatt'ring throng: Now, all united in a goodly team, They skim the ground, and seek the quiet stream.”
    • Dryden Translation of the Aeneid
  • 5. Imagery in Book Two For each of the examples of imagery listed below, explain what the image represents. Note that some of these are extended similies , having several parts to them, that will need to be thoroughly explained. 1. A flash flood destroying crops. (p.60) 5. A snake waking from hibernation. (p.65) 2. A man who has trodden on a snake. (p.62) 4. A river breaking its banks. (p.66) 3. A great tree that is finally toppled. (p.69) 6. The sound of a wounded sacrificial bull. (p.58) 7. Hungry wolves searching for prey. (p.61) 8. Wild winds of a hurricane. (p.63) Question : Which images are repeated? Are the meanings of the repeated images consistent?
  • 6. Ima g er y in Book IV 1. A doe pieced by a shepherd’s arrow. (p.99) 3. The personification of Rumour (p.102) 2. The god Apollo (p.101) 4. A ‘Bacchanal’ (devotee of the god Bacchus) (p.106) 5. A strong oak tree (pg. 110-1) 7. Stories of Madness (p.111) – Pentheus + Orestes, son of Agamemnon Explain the following images that appear in Book IV 6. Ants storing up food for the winter (p.109)