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The Aeneid opens with Virgil's famous words, "I sing of arms and of a man." The narrator describes the impetus behind Aeneas's many struggles: Juno, Queen of the gods, was angered when a Trojan man, Paris, did not choose her as the fairest of the goddesses. She became even more determined to do whatever she could to destroy the Trojans when she learned that the ancestors of these men were fated to bring the downfall of Carthage, the city of which she was patron. Although the Trojans were destined to land at Latium and build a great city that would one day become Rome, Juno spends the entirety of the Aeneid doing all that she can to steer them off course.
Book I of the Aeneid is particularly interesting not only because it introduces several main characters (including Aeneas, Venus, Juno, Jupiter, and Dido), but also because it introduces a number of themes that are found throughout the poem. First and foremost, we are introduced to the gods, and we become familiar with their tendency to meddle in mortal lives. The gods each have specific personalities, with their own attachments, and they often use mortals to further their own ends. Juno is the driving force behind the Aeneid: her passionate hatred for the Trojans drives the plot of the novel, as she steers them into one treacherous situation after another. Venus, Aeneas's mother, acts as her son's protector, entreating several other gods (including Jupiter and Cupid) to help her combat Juno's wrath.