Virgil is considered the most renowned Latin poet, according to the work “Divine Intervention, Supremacy of Fate in The Aeneid. ” He is the writer of the epic poem The Aeneid. Virgil’s epic is a continuation of Homer’s The Iliad. The Aeneid is very much like The Iliad. In The Iliad, the men and gods are a driving power of the Trojan War, as are the men and gods a driving power of Aeneas’s journey in The Aeneid, but there is a stronger power driving Aeneas on his journey. It is the same power to which the characters of The Iliad are subject, and that is the power of fate. In The Aeneid the men and gods draw the battle lines.
Some want Aeneas to succeed on his journey to Latium. Others want him to fail. Still other characters are just on the side that is beneficial for them. According to Wildman, the main character who opposes the protagonist, Aeneas, is the goddess Juno (26). The characters’ interventions only move the epic to its end, but fate has the final word (“Divine” 1). This paper will discuss how the fate of Aeneas always thwarts Juno’s opposition. According to “The Function of the Gods in Virgil’s Aeneid” by Woodworth, the main plot of The Aeneid is outlined in the first verses of the poem (114).
In the beginning of Virgil’s Aeneid it is written, “I sing of warfare and a man at war. From the sea-coast of Troy by destiny, to our Lavinian shore, a fugitive, this captain… (1). ” This quote is talking about Aeneas’s destiny to journey to the shores of Rome (Woodworth 114). Virgil continues, “By blows from powers of the air—behind them baleful Juno in her sleepless rage (Aeneid 1). ” This states that the secondary plot, or the “superplot,” is Juno’s effort to stop Aeneas’s fate of arriving at the shore of Rome (Woodworth 114).
Therefore, Juno’s hatred of Aeneas and her opposition to his destiny is made clear in this quote that follows the opening quote that states the main plot of the epic poem (Woodworth 114). Coleman comments that throughout the epic poem, Juno and the other gods that she persuades intervene in human affairs (144). The gods usually intervene in one of two different ways. One way the gods intervene is by using the world itself to interfere with the Trojans’s journey. An example is when Aeolus blows the Trojan vessels off course with a storm.
The second way Juno or the other gods intervene is by making certain human characters do what the gods want. An example is when Cupid makes Dido fall in love with Aeneas. Juno is constantly trying to stay a step ahead of Fate (Coleman 144). The plot of Juno starts at the beginning of the epic poem according to the work “Divine Intervention, Supremacy of Fate in The Aeneid” (1). Coleman mentions that Juno’s rage against Aeneas and the Trojans is strong because of the judgment of Paris (1). Her hatred is so strong that she will stop at nothing to prevent the Trojans’ journey to found the city of Rome (“Divine 1”).
In Book One of Virgil’s Aeneid, Juno asks Aeolus, the god of wind, to use his mighty powers to destroy the Trojan vessels. Juno makes the “…plea to the god of the winds [Aeolas]… ‘thrash your winds to fury, sink their warships, overwhelm them or break them apart’”(qtd. in “Divine”). The plea works only after Juno offers Aeolus her fairest sea-nymphs to marry (“Divine 2”). The power of Fate over the will of Juno is evident in the following events, according to the work “Divine Intervention, Supremacy of Fate in The Aeneid” (2).
Neptune is annoyed at having a storm blow across his ocean without his permission, so he calms the storm. Neptune says, “The power over the sea and the cruel trident were never his [Aeolus] by destiny, but mine [Neptune],” according to Vergil’s Book One of The Aeneid (8). Juno’s attempt to destroy the Trojan ships is unsuccessful because, the control of the sea is not Aeolus’s destiny but it is only Neptune’s (“Divine 2”). By calming the storm, Neptune saves the Trojans (“Divine” 1). Then, later, what Jupiter says to Venus further reiterates Fate’s might (“Divine 2”).
After Juno’s rage is taken out on the Trojan ships, Venus, the mother of Aeneas, goes to her father Jupiter to be calmed (“Divine” 2). Jupiter says to Venus, “Relieve yourself of fear, my lady of Cythera…the fate of your children stands unchanged, I swear…” and that “On [the Romans] I set no limits, space or time…I have granted them power, empire without end” (qtd. in “Divine” 2). So the god of the gods has spoken that fate will prevail (“Divine”2). Jupiter represents fate and Juno is the antagonist, comments Woodworth (115). Jupiter’s and Fate’s will are the same.
Continuing throughout the epic poem Jupiter will help to insure that Aeneas fulfills his destiny (Woodson 115). According to “Divine Intervention, Supremacy of Fate in The Aeneid”, Aeneas’s mother Venus loves her son as much as Juno hates him (2). Venus struggles to keep Juno from harming Aeneas . Venus worries that the Trojans will not be accepted at the city of Carthage. Before Aeneas arrives at Carthage, Venus sends the god of love, Cupid, into the city. Cupid is told to use his gifts to make Dido, Queen of Carthage, fall madly in love with Aeneas.
The plan works very well. Juno sees Dido’s love for Aeneas as opportunity to delay his journey to Italy (“Divine” 2). According to Virgil, one day while Dido and Aeneas are hunting in the forest, Juno summons a storm (101). Dido and Aeneas take cover in a cave. They both sleep together while in the cave. Dido considers this a marriage (Virgil 102). Juno now hopes Aeneas will not leave Carthage. By not leaving, Aeneas will not fulfill his destiny of founding the city of Latium. Fate nonetheless finds a way to overcome.
Jupiter, by the will of Fate, sends Mercury to remind Aeneas of his destiny. Aeneas is at once moved back into the will of Fate. He leaves Carthage and Dido behind. Aeneas’s departure causes Dido to commit suicide. The writer calls Dido’s suicide “an innocent casualty of the quest to found Rome, sacrificed because she stood in the way of Aeneas fulfilling his destiny” (“Divine” 2). Aeneas’s relationship with Dido, according to Duckworth, is one of the strongest evidences of the power of Fate over Juno’s will (357). While Aeneas is in the relationship, he is distracted from his goal.
In order to return his focus on his destiny, Jupiter sends Mercury to remind him of the goal. Aeneas only returns to his destiny when Mercury reminds him. The necessity of Mercury’s intervention to separate the couple show how real their love was. The fact that the gods intervene to help set fate back into motion also proves how powerful fate is (Duckworth 358). Venus and Juno are constantly opposing one another throughout the epic poem, comments the writer of “Divine Intervention, Supremacy of Fate in The Aeneid” (2). They do not act alone but require the help of other deities.
Juno again interferes with Aeneas’s journey at the funeral games held for Anchises (“Divine” 2). Juno sends Iris to cause the Trojan women to burn down the Trojan ships. After seeing this Aeneas calls out to the heavens for help and “no sooner said than a wild black flood of rain comes whipping down…till all the fires are slaked” (qtd. in “Divine” 2). Jupiter answered the call of Aeneas. Venus responds to Juno’s terror by appealing to Neptune. Neptune, at Venus’s request, agrees to give the Trojan vessels a safe voyage to the Tiber River (“Divine 2”).
Every time that Juno tries to thwart the destiny of the Trojans, mightier forces prevent her from doing so, observes the writer of “Divine Intervention, Supremacy of Fate in The Aenied” (2). Usually, Jupiter is the mightier force who “rises above this divine terror. His is the vision, his is the disposition of all things towards a plan” (qtd. in “Divine” 2). Jupiter does not wish that he or others interfere with fate (“Divine” 2). According to “Divine Intervention, Supremacy of Fate in The Aeneid”, the fate of Trojans will end in Italy “where the line of Aeneas will rule all parts of the world” (qtd. n “Divine” 2). When the Trojans arrive in Italy, they first must fight the local Italians whose military leader is Turnus. During many battles, many soldiers perish on both sides. Back and forth, Aeneas and Turnus force the tide to turn in their favor. The gods do not sit on the sidelines but choose to interfere with fate. Venus is quick to protect her son. She convinces Vulcan to make armor for Aeneas. The armor that is made makes Aeneas very powerful. Juno also protects her interests. During battle Juno sends the nymph, Juturna, to save Turnus.
Juno only prevents the inevitable death of Turnus for a short time. After the battles are fought, Turnus and Aeneas decide to face one another in one-on-one combat. Both Jutuerna and Venus intervene in the fight. Jupiter and Juno are both watching the fight from afar. Juno asks Jupiter, if she gives into fate, will he allow the Latin culture to endure. Jupiter agrees to Juno’s terms (“Divine” 3). After this agreement, Juno finally “surrenders her ire against the Trojans in submission to the overwhelming force of fate and Jupiter’s adherence to it” (qtd. n“Divine” 3). Aeneas is then able to be victorious Turnus. The Aenead ends with Aeneas killing Turnus (“Divine” 3). Just as the gods are all-powerful over human kind, so is fate all-powerful over the gods, comments the writer in “Divine Intervention, Supremacy of Fate in The Aeneid” (3). There are many incidents that Juno provokes (“Divine” 3). According to Wildman, the will of Juno has its effect on every character in the poem (29). Juno’s will helps to bind the story together.
Wildman says that Juno is so influential in the poem that “Virgil might almost have begun his great epic with the words: ‘Sing, O Muse, the wrath of Juno’”(29). Even though Juno is the driver of the story, the destiny of Aeneas does not change. Aeneas’s choices are always instructed by fate. The writer of “Divine Intervention, Supremacy of Fate in The Aeneid” says it best “The Particular choice to place fate in the foremost position indicates that, though the gods undoubtedly feature as a pivotal actors in the story of The Aeneid, they do not direct the play” (3). In conclusion, fate has the power over the will of Juno.