Compare the visits to the Underworld by Odysseus and Aeneas. How does each poet explain the meaning of life and death?
Interaction and Reaction in Virgil and Homer "May it be right to tell what I have heard, May it be right, and fitting, by your will, That I describe the deep world sunk in darkness Under the earth.
In addition, they provide the reader of the poems with a fascinating basis for comparison, not only between the two poets, but between their characters and poetic creations as well.
One of the most striking of these contrasts appears in the detailed geographical and topological imagery with which Virgil has built his Hades. Not only do we see, in the passage relating the tortures and torments of the mythological figures, specific geographical formations, such as the fiery Styx which "rushed with scorching flames and boulders tossed in thunder," but also artificial, man-made or in this case god-made elements: The world of Hades for Homer is far more a dreamland, topologically undefined, while Virgil has in mind an earth-like but twisted vista, well-defined in its geographical features.
Interestingly, however, the Virgil vs homer in underworld which come to view in the Odyssey, despite a general lack of background environment, are portrayed much more as separate individuals: Tantalus, for example, and Sisyphus both receive lengthy discussions, complete with detailed pictures of their individual surroundings: In the Aeneid, on the other hand, the name of Tantalus is never even mentioned, and the feasters who seem to share his fate are given only five lines of rather dry portrayal.
In the Virgilian Hades, by contrast, the tortured souls become even more pitiful by virtue of their exposure to the public eye: The picture of the Underworld set out by Virgil has many qualities of a nightmare, then: Another significant difference that can be seen in the cataloging of lost souls set out by Virgil and Homer is the different approach the two have to the ordering of their worlds.
In Virgil, we see an almost obsessive categorization: In addition, this compartmentalization is by no means random: Each soul is placed in the area it belongs, according to the nature of its wrongdoings or the manner of its death.
Perhaps, but more likely it is caused by the different views of history the authors possess. The two images of the afterlife share many other contrasting features brought out throughout the narrative. One of the most striking of these is the difference between the orientation of the two heroes, which plays a large part in their respective experiences in Hades.
As such, it is decreed by fate that he complete this task. For Aeneas, the matter is rather different: The journeys of Aeneas and Odysseus also tell us something about their respective characters, and about the characters of the authors as well.
For Homer, there is comparatively little ritual: Odysseus slaughters the sacrifice and promises his best heifer to the dead, then simply calls up the lost souls and converses with them. Still, there is some compensation made for the effort put out by Aeneas: Odysseus, on the other hand, although his journey does not seem as difficult, must complete it entirely on his own.
This is typical of the views held by the heroes, as we have seen: Also a sign of the passivity of Aeneas is the help given him by the Sibyl, not only on his journey itself, but even beforehand: Odysseus has no such advisor: A minor but relevant point here: In addition, the two heroes encounter a completely different set of experiences in the Underworld after their arrival there.
At first, he is faced with the mythological figures and tormented souls of the past discussed in the passage above, but then, as he meets up with his father in Elysium, he sees his own descendants:Odysseus and Aeneas both visit the Underworld; in Odysseus' case, in Book XII of Homer's Odyssey, and in Aeneas' case, in Book VI of Virgil's Aeneid.
In discussing the differences between the two treatments of the Underworld episodes, it is imporcant to first outline the similarities in the two. Homer's Underworld has relatively little to make it memorable: apart from the "shadowy" souls, insubstantial and unreachable by mortal means, there is not much in Homer that Virgil did not significantly re-cast.
Virgil vs. Homer in Underworld Essay How does Virgil deviate from Homer in the underworld, and why? When comparing “The Aeneid” to “The Odyssey”, it is impossible not to notice the similarity between Homer and Virgil's poems.
Virgil’s description of the Underworld was a lot more detailed in the Aeneid then the description that Homer gave in the Odyssey.
There were also other differences. In the Aeneid, Aeneas was guided to the underworld by the Sibyl. The remarkable resemblance between the Underworld of Homer's Odyssey and that of Virgil's Aeneid reveals, upon closer examination, several important differences; these adaptations and corrections by Virgil of the Homeric vision lend credence to the Bloomian concept of influence, and show the many-faceted reactions of Virgil to the "burden" of his eminent precursor.
Com pare the visits to the Underworld by Odysseus and Aeneas. How does each poet explain the meaning of life and death?
What values are important to Homer, and what are important to Vergil?.
The visits of both these heroes to the Underworld come almost exactly in the middle of the poems.