Development of Western Civilization
November 21, 2011
All You Need is Love
The French poet Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.” This love he speaks of has the ability to divide countries as we see in Vergil’s Aeneid and it has the power to engulf an individual to the point where he dedicates his life to spreading love amongst nonbelievers as observed in Mark’s Gospel. We examine two separate journeys of love in these readings. Aeneas, the protagonist in the Aeneid, sets aside his personal priorities and entrusts in fate to guide his journey for the good of his family whereas Jesus takes his love to the cross as he dies for his people in an effort to cleanse them of sin. Despite being faced with adversity and persecution, Aeneas and Jesus remain obedient to the higher power expressing a great deal of piety. The central theme that these texts contain is piety through love, and the central idea that love gives up everything for what it loves. Although Aeneas’s actions in leaving Dido can be interpreted as an act of betrayal, Vergil guides the reader to believe that his actions are lacking of free will and primarily honorable and pious. On the contrary, there is no doubt that Jesus’ perseverance throughout Mark’s Gospel is motivated by a love that binds those beyond family.
“As beautiful, as noble strode Aeneas” (Vergil, 74), a witness of the devastation that ensued during the Trojan War, but yet a survivor who now partakes in an internal battle. Aeneas is unaware that the Gods are intervening in his journey, beginning with Juno’s wrath, as she exclaims, “a race I hate sails the Tyrrhenian sea, bringing Troy’s beaten gods to Italy. Goad your winds into fury, swamp the ships, or scatter them, strew bodies on the water” (Aeneid, 3). Consequently, Aeneas arrives in Carthage where Dido “led Aeneas to her palace” (Aeneid, 19) and by the arrow of Cupid the two fall in love. Unfortunately for Aeneas, this love will have...