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Barron's Booknotes-The Aeneid by Virgil-Free Book Summary
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(X. 815-20)

With that he gently lifts the body from the ground and gives it to Lausus' companions for burial.

Do you see how differently Aeneas and Turnus act in these two scenes? Both were involved in uneven contests between men and boys, but Turnus attacked Pallas while Aeneas tried to warn Lausus away. After he wins, Turnus gloats and snatches a trophy from the boy's body. He feels no remorse, no pity. But Aeneas is almost horrified by what he's done. He remembers how much he loved his own father, Anchises, and how he would have done anything to help him. He doesn't blame Lausus for defending his father. He doesn't steal anything from Lausus' body, but hands it over gently to his comrades.


You begin to see that Aeneas is different-and greater-than Turnus. It's not because he's a better warrior or more exciting-he's not. But Aeneas is able to understand and respect his enemy. He can feel pity. Aeneas isn't simple- minded. He doesn't think war is fun. He realizes what a terrible waste it can be. In these scenes we see what a Roman soldier should be. He does his duty; he's not afraid to kill when he has to. But he's not out of control. He knows how to restrain himself and can respect the other side.

NOTE:

A virtue that the Romans of Virgil's time emphasized was that of love and respect between father and son. We've already seen a good example of this in the relationship between Aeneas and Anchises. But the Romans also believed in loyalty to one's country. When Aeneas decides to kill Lausus, he must make a terrible choice between these two virtues. Although he would like to respect Lausus' devotion to his father, his duty to his country is to kill both father and son. For Aeneas, duty to his country always wins. Here is another example of how the Aeneid is a patriotic poem.


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Barron's Booknotes-The Aeneid by Virgil-Free Book Summary
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