The Aeneid

Virgil Character Analysis

Virgil often interjects in his story. Sometimes he addresses characters directly, other times he asks rhetorical questions or comments on the action. In this way, he acts as a character too—this is "Virgil as storyteller," becoming a part of his narrative like the ancient storytellers of the oral tradition, such as Homer.

Virgil Quotes in The Aeneid

The The Aeneid quotes below are all either spoken by Virgil or refer to Virgil. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fate Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of The Aeneid published in 2006.
Book 1 Quotes
Wars and a man I sing.
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Page Number: 1.1
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book 4 Quotes
Rumor, swiftest of all the evils in the world. She thrives on speed, stronger for every stride, slight with fear at first, soon soaring into the air she treads the ground and hides her head in the clouds.
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Page Number: 4.220-223
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book 8 Quotes
He fills with wonder—he knows nothing of these events but takes delight in their likeness, lifting onto his shoulders no the fame and fates of all his children's children.
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Related Symbols: Aeneas's Shield
Page Number: 8.856-859
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book 9 Quotes
Yet first the handsome Iulus—beyond his years, filled with a man's courage, a man's concerns as well—gives them many messages to carry to his father. But the winds scatter them all, all useless, fling them into the clouds.
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Page Number: 9.361-365
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book 11 Quotes
Camilla, keen to fix some Trojan arms on a temple wall or sport some golden plunder out on the hunt, she tracked him now, one man in the moil of war, she stalked him wildly, reckless through the ranks, afire with a woman's lust for loot and plunder…
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker), Camilla
Page Number: 11.914-918
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book 12 Quotes
Now what god can unfold for me so many terrors? Who can make a song of slaughter in all its forms—the deaths of captains down the entire field, dealt now by Turnus, now by Aeneas, kill for kill? Did it please you, great Jove, to see the world at war, the peoples clash that would later live in everlasting peace?
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Page Number: 12.584-589
Explanation and Analysis:
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Turnus's limbs went limp in the chill of death. His life breath fled with a groan of outrage down to the shades below.
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker), Turnus
Page Number: 12.1111-1113
Explanation and Analysis:
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Virgil Character Timeline in The Aeneid

The timeline below shows where the character Virgil appears in The Aeneid. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1
Fate Theme Icon
The Gods and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Piety Theme Icon
Rome Theme Icon
War and Peace Theme Icon
Virgil begins with "Wars and a man I sing…" and says that he will tell the... (full context)
Book 4
Fate Theme Icon
The Gods and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Virgil doesn't mention if the couple physically consummates the marriage, but he hints that they do,... (full context)
Book 7
Fate Theme Icon
The Gods and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Piety Theme Icon
Virgil explains the history of Latium, home of the Latins (and future location of Rome). King... (full context)
Book 10
Fate Theme Icon
The Gods and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
War and Peace Theme Icon
...Turnus says that he'll get a proper tomb. Turnus takes Pallas's belt as a prize. Virgil foreshadows that in the future Turnus will wish he'd never touched Pallas. (full context)
Piety Theme Icon
War and Peace Theme Icon
Lausus cries out or his injured father, and Virgil praises Lausus's bravery as deserving lasting recognition. Lausus jumps in to protect Mezentius. Aeneas tells... (full context)
Book 12
The Gods and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
Piety Theme Icon
War and Peace Theme Icon
...and throws himself fully into the battle. He kills so many people so ferociously that Virgil wonders what god can even help him sing about all the slaughter. Virgil wonders if... (full context)