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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 #1

So ran the speech. Burdened and sick at heart,
He feigned hope in his look, and inwardly
Contained his anguish. […]
Aeneas, more than any, secretly
Mourned for them all (1.284-286, 300-301)

These lines come at the beginning and the end of the Trojans' feast on the beach in Book 1. They show the burdens of leadership: even though Aeneas feels more saddened than anyone else for the loss of their companions, he also has to hide his grief more than anyone else, so that he can keep up the survivors' spirits.

Quote #2

"I am Aeneas, duty-bound, and known
Above high air of heaven by my fame,
Carrying with me in my ships our gods
Of hearth and home, saved from the enemy.
I look for Italy to be my fatherland,
And my descent is from all-highest Jove." (1.519-524)

This is how Aeneas introduces himself to the huntress he meets in the forest of Libya (actually, the huntress is his mother, Venus, in disguise). They reveal how much his mission and responsibilities make up his identity.

Quote #3

Amazed, and shocked to the bottom of his soul
By what his eyes had seen, Aeneas felt
His hackles rise, his voice choke in his throat.
As the sharp admonition and command
From heaven had shaken him awake, he now
Burned only to be gone, to leave that land
Of the sweet life behind. (4.379-395)

What could make someone so eager "to leave that land / Of the sweet life behind"? Duty, that's what! Mercury (who was sent down by Jupiter) has just reminded Aeneas of his responsibilities to establish a kingdom for his son Ascanius, which won't happen if he spends all his time with Dido, helping her build her city.

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