Write on one of the following topics. Be as specific and as concise
as you can. Be sure to refer to the
CLASSICS 202: INTERMEDIATE
FIRST ESSAY (7.5%)
Due in class, 30 October 1998
guidelines in the course syllabus
when composing and preparing your essay.
Remember, this is not a research paper, but an opportunity for you to
interpret the text. Of course, if you do use outside scholarship,
either through direct quotation or by building from an essential idea,
you must reference your source appropriately.
In the course of your essay, I expect that you will be working from
the translation more often than not. There will be times, however,
when it will be appropriate for you to quote from the Latin directly (short
sentences, a word or two, and so on). I have placed the Loeb Classical
Library edition of the Aeneid on three-hour reserve at Scribner
Library for your use.
References to the text are most easily handled in the body of your essay,
Aeneas' accusations, Venus denies everything (1.443-6).
A) What kind of hero is Aeneas? That is, does
he seem like an appropriate character on which to base an epic? Track
Aeneas' responses to various crises in Aeneid 1-6. How does
he handle them? Does he meet with success? To what extent do
the gods guide his actions? Draw on your knowledge of Homeric heroes,
B) It has been often remarked that book 4 of the
Aeneid is tragic. Explore this notion by discussing what elements
(plot, language, speeches, and the like) seem most reminsicent of Greek
tragedy. Is the tragedy confined to book 4 alone, or does it begin
or end elsewhere? Why do you think Vergil wrote a tragedy into his
C) The Aeneid is a unique blend of mistory
and myth. Identify and discuss the historical elements on display
in books 1-6, and how they are made to serve the mythical story at large.
What do you think a Roman of the late first century BCE would have made
of these historical touches?
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