Have anyone asked himself who is a hero? A hero is usually perceived as someone who achieved win fame due to his heroic deeds. As it is known from the Virgil’s poem Aeneid, Aeneus achieved his goals through divine intervention. Thus, his deeds must not be perceived as his own. Divine intervention can be observed throughout the poem: Gods command the life of his wife when they left Troy, Venus begged Jupiter to calm the storm so Aeneus and other people could save their lives, later they guided him to Italy.
On the other hand, Aeneus was a hero in a common understanding of the meaning of the word. His attitude towards his family reveals him as a brave man as he was not afraid to return to Troy which was full of enemies. He was not afraid to start a trip to unknown country; he took responsibility to convey Trojans to Italy. He performed his duties not for achieving his personal goals, but to save the lives of other people who trusted him.
Aeneus completely realized his mission: he was to find unknown land to make it a homeland for Trojans whose city was totally damaged. He was destined to find this land for him and his people. Aeneus was persistent in achieving his final goal regardless of difficulties he encountered on his way. He remained devoted to his Roman race showing exemplary behavior towards the homeland. He set a good example for his compatriots showing them an exemplary behavior in everything. The ability to follow one’s destiny even being aware of danger and threats to one’s life is a heroic virtue.
In the poem Aeneus was depicted as pious citizen, a virtue that is valued by Romans a lot. He followed the will of Gods obeying their destiny even if it was painful. Such a behavior requires a lot of courage.
At the end of the poem Aeneus had lost everything he had in life: his father, his love, and, as a result, his identity. Many people would likely feel desperate and rave against their fate. Moral costs Aeneus paid significantly outweigh the benefits. But Aeneus is dignified in the face of adversity. He had never concentrated on the rewards, being focused on other people needs and his sense of duties. To my mind, Aeneus is a good example of how to behave in difficult situations, how to stay moral even if it seems impossible, how to respect homeland.
So, who is the hero? Someone, who is ready for heroic deeds or fight enemies? Or someone who is responsible and ready to defend other people interests? I think that a perception of a hero had changed with time immensely. There is no need to fight enemies anymore, but people who are responsible, devoted and aim to be good citizens are in favor any time.
Many critics refer to heroic deeds of Aeneus, but I think that Aeneus’s heroism is in his ability to defend his family and nation. Even being an offspring of Gods, he was just a man who was deprived of divine power. He did what he had to do in the situation he was. Unfortunately, only few people make right decisions when facing difficulties in their lives. The poem had impressed me a lot and Aeneus was an example that showed me the right way in life.
Virgil. The Aeneid. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. Vintage classics edition. New York: Vintage Books, 1990. Print.