As Aeneas and the Sibyl take their journey through the underworld, Aeneas struggles to understand the different places where each soul goes after they die. The Sybil explains to him that where the souls are placed in the underworld, depends on whether they lived a good moral life or not. As readers take the tour with Aeneas in Book VI, they are introduced to the idea that it is important that one should abide by the Roman concept of virtues if they want eternal happiness. This concept is similar to that of the Christian Bible. In this essay, I intend to show that in The Aeneid, the after-life that Virgil depicts is much like that of Christianity in that the way one lives during their life very much determines their fate when they die.
As they enter the underworld, Aeneas and the Sybil pass through Orcus, which Urania Molyviati-Toptsis, in his essay, describes as "the abode of evil personifications" (35). Grief, avenging Cares, Diseases, Age, Dread, Hunger, Want, War, and Discord are the entities that reside in Orcus. These entities are the unfortunate things that happen to humans in life which causes them to forget their values and to sin. The people have to overcome these obstacles in order to have the chance of happiness in the after-life. In Christianity, it is also important that people keep their faith and practice goodness no matter what is thrown their way. By introducing Orcus as the first place Aeneas encounters in the underworld, Virgil was possibly displaying the importance of good behavior to his readers. .
When they reach The River Styx, they see many souls begging the boatman, .
Charon, to sail them across. In her article "The Reports from the River Styx", Janet .
Lembke explains that,.
The ghosts who manage to cross the Styx are judged on arrival and sent to one of .
the three (sections of the underworld) according to the ways they conducted their earthly lives.