The Iliad and The Aeneid are two of the most famous works of literature ever written. They are both epics, a long narrative poem telling of a hero's deeds. The Iliad follows the actions of the Greek hero, Achilles, nine years after the start of the Trojan War. The Aeneid is about Aeneas, a survivor of the siege of Troy, and his journey to Rome, in order to fulfill his destiny of creating the Roman Empire. The Iliad and The Aeneid were written over half a century apart, yet they share many similar elements. In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting the characters, plot, and style of The Iliad and The Aeneid. .
Epics are typically centered around the main character, or hero, as he goes on a quest or adventure. These heroes are complex in nature, which makes them interesting to compare. In the Iliad, Achilles is the main character. Achilles is a Greek warrior who is part of the Achaean army attacking Troy, while Aeneas is a Trojan who escapes Troy as it is being destroyed by the Achaean army. Achilles is half-human and half-god, and even though he possesses superhuman strength, and is the greatest Greek warrior he also has major character flaws. He cannot control his pride or the rage that surges up when that pride is injured. He even abandons his troops because of a dispute with his commander, Agamemnon. Achilles brutally kills his enemies, and disrespects the body of King Hector, whom he killed as well. Achilles seems to show some reason after his friend Patrolocus is killed; he ends his disagreement with Agamemnon, and fighting King Hector, the person that killed Patrolocus. But, after Achilles kills Hector, he dishonors his body, dragging it behind his chariot. Aeneas, on the other hand, seems to be much more of a hero in the modern day sense of the word. He accepts his destiny, to found the Roman Empire, despite his unhappiness. He also displays empathy for others by allowing the crippled and unwilling to stay behind in Book V.