The Complex Interplay of Past, Present, and Future in The Aeneid College
In Book 2 of the Aeneid, the hero carries upon his shoulders the aged father and at his side walks the little son. They are fleeing Troy as she burns. Subject to the will of the gods and the promise of a future in safety, their image is not only one of piety and Roman familial virtue, but also of deeper importance for the poem as a whole. Together, they are the past (grandfather Anchises), present (father Aeneas) and future (son Ascanius). One of the most famous symbols of succession between generations and continuity of superior cultural values in the Roman world even before its noted depiction in the poem, it is matched by other depictions, episodes and themes that make use of the interrelation between these temporal schemes. The three are constantly compared and alluded to, providing a rich tapestry effect. On a historical (which is also largely mythological), political and structural level, Virgil makes his Aeneas and epic universe part of the greater picture of Augustus and Rome in the present time, the heroic mythic past, and the limitless future of the Roman ‘imperium’. At the same time, as a story the Aeneid is a complex organism that has a vivid present, but also flashbacks back and foreshadows forwards continually....
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1622 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10725 literature essays, 2693 sample college application essays, 625 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in