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Barron's Booknotes-The Aeneid by Virgil-Free Book Summary
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  1. C
  2. C
  3. A
  4. B
  5. A
  6. A
  7. B
  8. C
  9. A
  10. A

11. The first quality you would mention is Aeneas' strong sense of duty to his family, fellow Trojans, and the gods. Part of this quality is his complete lack of selfishness. For example, in Book II he carries his father, Anchises, out of Troy on his back. In Book IV he leaves Dido and all the happiness he had with her for the sake of his son and his country's future. Throughout, Aeneas always prays to the gods and obeys them. One result is that they help him. For example, Jupiter puts out the fire on the Trojan ships in Book V.

Another quality you would discuss is Aeneas' great strength, skill, and bravery as a warrior. These are shown especially in the last four Books. You would point out that Aeneas always acts with moderation, even in war. He is never unnecessarily brutal, but when he has to kill, he can. (See Books X and XII.)

You would also point out Aeneas' skill in reaching compromises and keeping order. For example, in Book V you see him award prizes to all the contestants in the funeral games so that everybody remains happy. In Books XI and XII you see that Aeneas is willing to fight Turnus alone to prevent unnecessary bloodshed.

You could conclude by noting that all these qualities enable Aeneas to bring peace and order to Italy. Thus, he is the model for a perfect Roman leader.

12. You could answer this question by showing how in Book I Aeneas wishes that he had died in Troy, instead of being stuck in a storm at sea. His heart is still in the past. In Book II, he wants to fight even though Troy is doomed. He leaves only because the gods tell him to. Then you could show how his travels in Book III illustrate how, at first, he has no idea of his destination. He keeps making mistakes and relying on his father, who doesn't know any better than he does. He doesn't make his own decisions until Anchises dies.

Aeneas' stop in Buthrotum in Book III is the first indication that he is beginning to accept the necessity of change. Buthrotum is just like Troy and Aeneas could stay there but he leaves because he realizes that his fate is to build a completely new city. In Book IV Aeneas makes an important discovery about his emotions. He leaves Dido because he realizes that the future of his country and obedience to the gods are more important to him than love. Finally in Book VI, when Aeneas journeys to the underworld and sees the future of Rome, he becomes inspired by the future and is convinced that all his struggles are worth the effort. He leaves the past and Troy behind.

13. There is neither a right nor a wrong answer to this question. Although it depends on what you feel about the characters, you'll want to be able to explain why you feel the way you do. If you prefer Dido, you'll point out that she seems to be a real person with real feelings. She was generous and kind to Aeneas and his Trojans when they were desperate for help. Her only mistake was to love Aeneas too much. Even that wasn't her fault because Venus and Cupid made her fall in love. You'll also point out how badly Aeneas behaves when he leaves. He starts preparing the fleet before he has even spoken to Dido. When she finds out, he gives her a cold, rational explanation of why he must leave. He never expresses any emotion. It's as if the year they spent together never happened. It's no wonder that she goes crazy with grief and anger. Finally, you'd conclude that her act of killing herself was very courageous.

If you like Aeneas better than Dido, you would emphasize how much strength it must have taken for him to leave her. You would point out that he really did love Dido, but that he had to leave because Jupiter ordered him to go. He had no choice. The reason that he didn't tell Dido was that he was trying to think of a gentle way to break the news. However, she attacked him before he could think of anything and he just told her the simple truth. You could show how much Aeneas really cared for Dido by mentioning the sad and tender way that he greets her when in Book VI he meets her shade in the underworld.

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