The Odyssey

The Underworld in The Aeneid Versus The Odyssey

The Aeneid clearly reflects the influence which Homer's Odyssey had on Virgil's writing. Among the several common aspects shared by these two epic poems, each author's depiction of the Underworld provides an interesting basis for comparison. Although the resemblance appears extraordinary at first, several important differences can be discovered upon closer examination. These differences enable the poems' reader to draw comparisons not only between the two poets, but between their characters as well namely, Aeneas and Odysseus. Two particular passages one can compare are Book VI, lines 335-489 from The Aeneid and Book X, line 560 through Book XI, line 62 from The Odyssey.

The characters of Aeneas and Odysseus are revealed through their respective journeys to the Underworld. One sharp contrast lies in the steps each hero must take in order to reach his destination. The process which Aeneas must go through is much more involved. The beginning of the said passage (lines 331ff.) from The Aeneid describes the last step of this process, when they make the formidable journey across the Sibyl's cave. They reach this last trial only after making the proper sacrifices to the gods and finding the Golden Bough, which...

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