The Odyssey

The Similarities and Differences of Aeneas and Odysseus College

Virgil’s Aeneid shares parallel with The Iliad and The Odyssey, however, while the plot shares similarities to both of these poems, Aeneas in Virgil’s epic is vastly different in character and in action to Odysseus in The Odyssey. While there are some similarities overall between Odysseus and Aeneas, their differences in character, action, and purpose in story demonstrate that the hero Virgil’s epic is unique and only influenced by the character of Odysseus, and The Odyssey as a whole, and is not just a simple copy of Homer’s iconic hero.

Examining the motivations of these two characters, it is apparent that the characters’ goals, outside of any divine interference, are driven by mostly different personalities. Odysseus is described as cunning, loyal, boastful, and physically strong. While perhaps not as strong as Hector or Achilles in The Iliad, it is stated in The Odyssey that “He seems very powerfully built; his thighs, calves, hands, and neck are of prodigious strength” (The Odyssey Book XIV; 91). His cunningness, however, is perhaps his most prominent characteristic, his skill in getting out of difficult situations is demonstrated by his triumph over Polyphemus and in his encounter with the Sirens. Aeneas, on the other...

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