Tom Meade's Reviews > The Eclogues, Georgics and Aeneid of Virgil

The Eclogues, Georgics and Aeneid of Virgil by Virgil
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's review
Feb 09, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: classical, adventure, poetry
Read in May, 2011

I find it interesting that the last scene in this book is a murder. It's arguable, of course, that Turnus deserves this sort of treatment - but arguments along those lines call into question the theology of the book, in which every character is (at least initially) propelled into action along a predetermined path by the direct intervention of the Gods. This would result in a book in which each person is to be held fully culpable for crimes committed under duress. Then again, I suppose the ending of the book cancells that out, too. Once the Gods have withdrawn from the conflict, Turnus is slain by a justifiably angry man for a series of crimes he was compelled to enact. It's a sort of horrifically violent palate-cleanser, and a nice little punchline to a rather long-winded joke.

The underworld scenes in Book VI are particularly good, and I think Virgil does a better job than Homer of making the endless battle scenes more engaging. The brevity of the book in comparison with its models narrows the scope of the story a bit, but does allow for a well-structured story told at a cracking pace. The gradual coalescence of the story over the first six books is marvellous, and Virgil does a good job of rearranging scenes from the Odyssey to disguise his lack of ideas. The second half, however, is arguably even better - at least, I found it more engaging than the actual Iliad.

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Reading Progress

04/28/2011 page 375
69.0% ""Blame it on Venus" is my new personal motto."

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