The Aeneid

Questions of Intervention: Virgil's Jupiter and Homer's Zeus College

Virgil’s Jupiter and Homer’s Zeus are analogous to each other in the sense that they are both the most powerful being, tasked with ensuring that the fate of the protagonist comes true, in each of their respective epics. In the Iliad, there many moments to support the claim that Zeus' will, and actions, are designed to fulfill his promise to Thetis in Book 1 to enable a Greek defeat. In the Aeneid, it can be read that Jupiter is the catalyst of fate and cleaning up after Juno's and Venus' actions that complicate Aeneas’ fate of conquering Italy. However, where the characters differ is in the way their fate intertwined roles affect the other characters. Also, Virgil rejects Homer’s model of Zeus when writing Jupiter. Whereas Zeus and the Olympian community in the Iliad are depicted to mirror human emotions and struggles, this is not the case for Jupiter in the Aeneid.

In the Iliad, Zeus’ decision-making revolved around his role of being the agent of fate of the epic. Zeus’ plans revolve around his promise to Thetis in Book 1 of restoring Achilles’ honor which was stripped of him by Agamemnon. He accomplishes this by formulating the strategy of building up Hector as a strong, dominant figure for the Trojans, just for Achilles to...

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