Comparative Literature: “The Odyssey” and “The Aeneid” Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

The Odyssey and The Aeneid are some of the major epics created by the western civilizations. Virgil wrote his Aeneid as a certain replica of Homer’s Odyssey’s, which was aimed at glorifying Rome. Therefore, the two epics have a lot in common. Nonetheless, since the two works were written by two different people in two different epochs, there are quite many differences.

Speaking of similarities, it is possible to think of some adventures of the two main characters, descriptions of wars, descriptions of other characters, major ideas, and motifs. One of these similarities is also the ending of the epics. The two major characters have to defeat their beloved’s suitors. Odyssey has to punish his wife’s suitors for finishing his long trip (Homer Book XXII). At the same time, Aeneas has to defeat Turnus and win the heart of his wife to be (Virgil Book XII). Both heroes manage to defeat their enemies and achieve their major goals and their major destinations, i.e., their homeland.

As for the differences, the styles of the two works differ. Even though Virgil’s work was based on Homer’s work, the epics are characterized by different styles. The two poets pertained to different epochs and different cultural backgrounds, which influenced their styles. At that, Virgil exploits more complex imagery and literary devices. Homer’s epic is quite simple when it comes to literary tools, e.g., metaphors, allusions, etc. Virgil’s epic is also more didactic than Homer’s work. Homer tells a story of a hero’s adventures while Virgil glorifies hero who is a representative of a great state and can be regarded as the embodiment of the state.

On balance, it is possible to state that the two epics share a lot of features as Virgil’s work is a certain kind of replica of Homer’s masterpiece. However, the two works are quite different as they were written in different epochs and different cultural backgrounds.

Works Cited

Homer. “The Odyssey.” The Internet Classics Archive. 2009.

Virgil. “The Aeneid.” The Internet Classics Archive. 2009.

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