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Killing Turnus: A Reading of Aeneas, Man of Action

Korzeniewski, A.J. (2015) Killing Turnus: A Reading of Aeneas, Man of Action. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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As repeatedly reiterated, Aeneas’ destiny is to found Rome, yet he frequently ignores said mission, choosing instead to live and act in the present. In the Aeneid, how do we reconcile human choice in a world where there is a fated plan? Vergil does not want the reader to write off human decision making or human personality as irrelevant due to some sort of divine sphere forcing a preordained fate; rather, there are different levels that the action of the Aeneid moves on: The divine (i.e., the mythological, poetic level requiring the action to unfold in accordance with the fated destiny of Rome); the human (i.e., the psychological dimension of characters themselves); and the crucial moments at which the two interact. This dissertation will study Vergil’s multiple track arrangement to demonstrate how Aeneas’ actions the night Troy burns reveal that his personality is not yet ready to accept his mission and act in accordance with the poetic level action of the poem. Had Aeneas been ready and willing to flee, Hector’s urging would have proven the ideal catalyst for doing so; instead, here we have the fated mission not in sync with human disposition.
Attention will then focus upon how Aeneas, as well as to a certain degree his mother Venus, has to develop from a figure who lives and acts in the present to the point where he can work in accordance with his destined, future oriented assignment. This moment occurs upon receiving his new armor in book viii, gifts whose images Aeneas does not understand but at whose martial exploits he stands in awe, for Aeneas is a hero whose militancy and need for action stands as, if not the dominating, then at least a highly dominate aspect of his complex personality. Carrying the imagery of Rome – a civilization whose greatness will be defined by the actions of her heroes – on his shoulders, Aeneas enters the heat of battle satisfying his personal need to act while simultaneously completing his heavenly mission.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Korzeniewski, A.J.ajk42@pitt.eduAJK42
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPossanza, D.M.possanza@pitt.eduPOSSANZA
Committee MemberAvery, H.C.avery@pitt.eduAVERY
Committee MemberLooney, D.O.looney@pitt.eduLOONEY
Committee MemberJones, N.F.nfjones@pitt.eduNFJONES
Date: 13 January 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 25 November 2014
Approval Date: 13 January 2015
Submission Date: 4 December 2014
Access Restriction: 3 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 3 years.
Number of Pages: 236
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Classics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aeneas; Vergil; Aeneid; Troy; Roman History
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2015 20:13
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2018 06:15


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