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The Aeneid Duty Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Robert Fitzgerald's translation.

Quote #7

"When his own two sons
Plot war against the city, he will call
For the death penalty in freedom's name—
Unhappy man, no matter how posterity
May see these matters. Love of the fatherland
Will sway him—and unmeasured lust for fame." (6.1103-1108)

With these words, Anchises points out to Aeneas the figure of Lucius Junius Brutus among the souls waiting to be reborn. For more on this figure, and the context for the incident Anchises is referring to, check out this link. What do you make of the fact that Anchises lists "unmeasured lust for fame" among his motivations? How does this complicate the poem's overall depiction of duty?

Quote #8

Now daylight left the sky, and the mild moon,

In mid-heaven, rode her night-wandering car,

But duty would not give Aeneas rest:

He held the tiller still, still shifted sail. (10.297-300)

As so many others, this scene shows how Aeneas's strong sense of responsibility prevents him from enjoying the comforts of life. In this case, this is definitely a good thing, since if he were to fall asleep, the ship might crash. Even so, not everything is under Aeneas's control. For a sense of how misfortune can interfere with duty, compare this passage with the very similar scene of the death of Palinurus at the end of Book 5.

Quote #9

"Was it you, poor boy, that Fortune
Would not let me keep when she came smiling?
You who were not to see our kingdom won,
Or ride in victory to your father's house?
This was not the pledge I made Evander
On your behalf, on leaving him, when he
Embraced me and gave godspeed to my quest
For country-wide command." (11.56-63)

These words are spoken by Aeneas over the body of the Arcadian prince Pallas. They show that his grief for the dead boy is not only personal; he is also ashamed of having failed to live up to his promise to protect him.

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