Throughout the semester, we have read multiple texts that have influenced and paralleled with the reading of other texts from the semester. In particular, Virgil's Aeneid was the most influential in my reading of Dante Alighieri's Inferno. During the course of reading Dante's Inferno, I quickly began to notice similarities and parallels with Virgil's Aeneid. The themes and elements of: epic poetry, fate and spirits as a motivational force contributed to my reading of Inferno in a way that allowed me to realize their significance by recalling their similar occurrences in Aeneid. .
In Virgil's Aeneid, the narrator (Aeneas) recounts on the story of his sorrowful journey during the fall of Troy. This type of narration is referred to as epic poetry. One of the main things that I drew from this poem, regarding its epic content, was that every aspect of Aeneas' journey seemed to aim at a desired end, which was for him to lead his people to Italy. Having made this connection of epic poetry from Aeneid, It was easy for me to realize the same connection in Inferno. The narrator in Inferno (Dante) recounts on his fearful journey through hell in search of salvation (Heaven). By realizing the significance of epic poetry in Aeneid, I was able to better understand the purpose of Dante's journey in Inferno. .
The Aeneid also influenced my reading of Inferno through the use of fate. Throughout my reading of the Aeneid, the fate of Aeneas appeared to be one of the most important themes in the poem. For Aeneas, his fate is to found a city in Italy, but no matter how much he resists fate, it is ultimately in the hands of the gods. There were two main instances in which it appeared that Aeneas' fate was in the hands of the gods. The first instance occurs when Athena (Minerva) summons the snakes that devoured the Trojan priest Laocoon and his two sons as punishment for hurling a spear at the Trojan horse.