The Aeneid



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The Gods and Divine Intervention Theme Analysis

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The Gods and Divine Intervention Theme Icon
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LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Aeneid, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
The Gods and Divine Intervention Theme Icon

The gods actively intervene in the lives of the mortals, often using the characters like chess pieces to carry out their own power struggles. Juno hates the Trojans and does her best to stop Aeneas from fulfilling his destiny, even setting up the war that fills the second half of the poem. Venus tries to protect and help her son. Neptune just gets annoyed that some other god thinks he can mess with the ocean. Yet it's a matter of continued controversy whether the gods are meant to be fully-fledged characters, like superpowered humans with their own motivations, or whether they have a more symbolic role and act as a way for Virgil to enter into the humans' emotions and decisions. In many cases, it's difficult to tease apart where godly influence ends and human free will begins. Maybe Dido was too heedless in her passion—or maybe it was Venus's enchantment that made Dido too reckless in love. Maybe Turnus never would have wanted a war at all, without Juno's involvement. Or maybe there's no need to decide what comes from the god and what comes from the human, because even those acts of the gods are really just a way of poetically examining the irrationality of the human spirit.

In any case, within the world of the poem, the characters do believe in the gods. Faced with the constant, and sometimes invisible, intervention from the gods, all that mortals can do is pray for divine signs to guide them, try to get on the gods' good sides in times of difficulty, and appeal to seers and oracles to get a better view of the gods' desires.

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The Gods and Divine Intervention ThemeTracker

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The Gods and Divine Intervention Quotes in The Aeneid

Below you will find the important quotes in The Aeneid related to the theme of The Gods and Divine Intervention.
Book 1 Quotes
Wars and a man I sing.
Related Characters: Virgil (speaker)
Page Number: 1.1
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 3 Quotes
Search for your ancient mother. There your house, the line of Aeneas, will rule all parts of the world.
Related Characters: Apollo (speaker)
Page Number: 3.17-18
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
Book 5 Quotes
You trusted—oh, Palinurus—far too much to a calm sky and sea. Your naked corpse will lie on an unknown shore.
Related Characters: Aeneas (speaker)
Page Number: 5.970-973
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 6 Quotes
…The descent to the Underworld is easy. Night and day the gates of shadowy Death stand open wide, but to retrace your steps, to climb back to the upper air—there the struggle, there the labor lies.
Related Characters: Sibyl of Cumae (speaker)
Page Number: 6.149-152
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 10 Quotes
Each man has his day, and the time of life is brief for all, and never comes again. But to lengthen out one's fame with action, that's the work of courage.
Related Characters: Jove (speaker)
Page Number: 10.553-556
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
Go no further down the road of hatred.
Related Characters: Turnus (speaker)
Page Number: 12.1093
Explanation and Analysis: