Literary devices

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Literary devices

  1. 1. Literary Devices In Virgil’s “Aeneid”
  2. 2. “The Aeneid” is an EPIC POEM In keeping with the conventions of epic poetry, Virgil begins his story at its most dramatic and crucial moment; postponing the chronological start point until Book II. This technique is called in Latin “in medias res”, and means “in the middle of things”.
  3. 3. In medias res Using this technique, • Virgil immediately engages the reader’s attention and gets the story underway at a crucial point. • Virgil can explain the background to the events once the reader is already hooked and keen to find out more about the story. • Virgil allows Aeneas to narrate the story of Book II directly to Queen Dido (and the reader), which makes the story more intimate and gives Dido more reason to fall in love with him as he unintentionally presents himself as a model of heroism.
  4. 4. In medias res This technique also • Enhances the sense that the story of Aeneas’ journey up to the point where he reaches Carthage is in the past, and that they are looking forward to the future. • This means Aeneas’ meeting with Dido becomes a dividing line in the story.
  5. 5. The Muse • At the beginning of Book I, Virgil calls for inspiration from the Muse. This was another convention of the epic poem and allows Virgil to write comprehensively, and with authority, about the events. • This convention allows Virgil to claim that his poem is both accurate and objective. • This also lends credibility to his visions for the future. So, when he claims that Rome will rule forever, it is the Muse, not Virgil, who makes the claim.
  6. 6. Point of View • Virgil changes the point of view to reveal different aspects of Aeneas’ character. • The early books emphasise Aeneas’ character. They are told almost exclusively from Aeneas’ point of view. • In the early books, even when Virgil is telling the story, Aeneas’ heroism is highlighted. • In Book IV, Aeneas’ betrayal of Dido is described almost entirely from Dido’s point of view. Aeneas says very little to defend himself, but Virgil uses the image of an oak tree (p.110) to symbolise Aeneas’ true feelings and his internal conflict.
  7. 7. Point of View • Later in the book, Virgil uses the voice of the narrator more and more. • This shows us that as Aeneas learns to accept his fate and grows to become the great leader he is destined to be, he has fewer internal conflicts. • Either that, or, as Aeneas develops into a great leader he cannot afford to let his internal conflicts take precedence over his destiny.
  8. 8. Furor and Pietas • Furor = (Greek idea), the world is naturally disordered. Furor is represented by forces of chaos, passion, rage and fighting. Juno represents furor. • Pietas = (Roman idea), the world is naturally ordered. Pietas is represented by feelings of duty, honour and self- sacrifice. Aeneas comes to represent pietas.
  9. 9. Imagery • Virgil uses many images, but few appear through all the books. • Images include: – Pregnancy – Snakes – Shooting stars – Floods – Storms at sea
  10. 10. Structure of “The Aeneid” Books I – VI Aeneas’ journey from Troy to Latium. Books VII – XII Aeneas’ adventures and victories after he arrives at Latium. “THE AENEID” can be organised in several different ways:
  11. 11. Books I – IV The tragedy of Dido in Carthage, including the fall of Troy, told by Aeneas. Books V – VIII Roman-centred. Describes the Trojan arrival in Italy and Aeneas’ trip to the underworld, where he is shown the future of Rome. Books IX - XII The war in Italy and Aeneas’ triumph over Turnus and the tragedy of Turnus.
  12. 12. Books I and VII I Arrival at a strange land VII Friendship offered Books II and VIII II Troy destroyed by the Greeks VIII Latium founded Books III and IX III Aeneas inactive and the action centres around Anchises IX Aeneas absent and action centres around Ascanius Books IV and X IV Aeneas in action, inner conflict between love and duty X Aeneas’ outer conflict with the enemy Books V and XI Each begins with a funeral and ends with death V Palinurus XI Camilla Books VI and XII VI Aeneas sees the future XII Aeneas fulfills his destiny
  13. 13. The even-numbered books • Reach higher emotional peaks • Contain more dramatic events The odd-numbered books • Less serious books • Contain less dramatic events
  14. 14. I Juno and the storm III Aeneas’ wanderings V Funeral games VII Juno and war IX The Trojan camp XI Truce: end of war II Destruction of Troy IV Tragedy of Dido VI Aeneas in the underworld VIIIBirth of Rome X War against Turnus XII Aeneas’ victory
  15. 15. Themes • Fate and destiny • Rome’s world mission • Furor and pietas • Aeneas’ personal search • Search for new identity • Meaning of life and life after death • Explaining the “rancour of the Gods”

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