Create a new account

It's simple, and free.

The Aeneid: Purgatory

Book 6 of VirgilÆs Aeneid provides a picture of purgatory that is aimed at demonstrating to Aeneas the solution to human suffering. The solution is to lead a life ruled by ration that controls human passion and desire. As Hardie maintains, ôVirgil is concerned from the first chapter to show how the narrative is manipulated to make it easier for the patriotic Roman reader to sympathize with AeneasÆ actionsö (270). Virgil hoped to do so in order to show Romans how to properly conduct themselves in order to be saved in the afterlife. By making this glorification of RomeÆs history and future accessible to the common Roman, Virgil broadened his potential audience for saved souls. VirgilÆs depiction of purgatory is meant to illustrate the damnation unsaved souls suffer for eternity but it also shows that some, like Aeneas, are saved and have everlasting life in the cycle of cleansing of memory and rebirth. However, it also expresses the foundation for the conduct necessary to assure the immortality of Rome.

The design of purgatory by Virgil is meant to exhibit the damnation of souls that did not bridle their desires and passions in life. At the beginning of Book 6, we see that there is a relief that features DaedalusÆ escape from Crete to Italy. However, the image of the labyrinth is significant to Aeneas, because it demonstrates that one must walk a maze-like journey through life while keeping desire in check. As Miller argues, ôàthe image of the labyrinth is accompanied by a direct or implicit evocation of the dangers of unlawful and uncontrollable desireö (229). This is significant to AeneasÆ life, because Aeneas must learn to control his own desires in order to be a leader for Rome. He must learn that his pious duty has endangered him of ending up in purgatory.

VirgilÆs purgatory lies ôdeepö in a cave, at the bottom of a ôrocky rough descent,ö from where we are told ôSuch deadly stenches from the dep...

Page 1 of 7 Next >

More on The Aeneid: Purgatory...

APA     MLA     Chicago
The Aeneid: Purgatory. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:15, April 21, 2019, from