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The Aeneid

The Aeneid

by Virgil

The Aeneid Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why do Aeneas and the Sibyl leave the underworld through the ivory gate of false dreams?
  2. Do you think Virgil believes his story is, for the most part, true, or is he self-consciously crafting a fictional narrative? What difference does it make?
  3. We know that Virgil considered his poem unfinished. How does this change the way in which you go about interpreting it?
  4. According to legend, on his deathbed Virgil gave instructions for his poem to be burned. Why do you think he wanted to do this?
  5. Many readers have considered the second half of Virgil's poem to be weaker than the first half. And yet, in Book 7, the poet announces that "A greater history opens before my eyes, / A greater task awaits me." Is this just wishful thinking trying to gussy up lame material? Why might Virgil have thought that the second half of the poem was "a greater history"?

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