The Aeneid is an heroic epic poem as well as an example of a mythological story.


The author, the poet Virgil is the narrator. However, the protagonist of The Aeneid, Aeneas, assumes the narration in Books 2 and 3, when he gives a retrospective account of his adventures

Point of View

When Virgil controls the narration of poem, the point of view includes the actions of the gods as well as the human story. Aeneas, in his storytelling in books 2 and 3, does not have this access to the gods’ perspective and relates events only from his own perspective.


When treating the glory of Rome, The Aeneid is solemn and honorific. When Virgil depicts the victims of history—those who suffered in the course of the founding of Rome, like Dido—his tone is tragic and sympathetic.


The story is usually past, but sometimes Virgil switches to present to increase the immediacy of a scene. He also uses the future tense, for prophecy and prediction.

Setting (Time & Place)

The Aeneid is set in the aftermath of the Trojan War, around 1000 BCE. It takes place in areas of the Mediterranean, including the north coast of Asia Minor, Carthage, and Italy


The events of the epic narrative are already history to the Roman audience. The many dreams and prophecies of various characters reveal a veiled future to mortals and are the epic’s strongest form of foreshadowing. Also, when Turnus kills Pallas, Virgil foreshadows Turnus’s own death.

Major Conflict

Aeneas is fated to travel from the ruins of Troy to Italy, where he will establish a race that will lead to the founding of Rome. Juno, harboring feelings of vengeance against the Trojans, impedes Aeneas’s mission by inciting a romance between Aeneas and Dido and then a war between the Trojans and the Latins, causing suffering for the hero, his fleet, and many whom they encounter on the way.

Rising Action

The epic has two parts: Aeneas’s wanderings in Books 1–6, and his struggle to establish himself in Latium in Books 7–12. In the first half of The Aeneid, Aeneas tells the story of the siege of Troy and his escape, causing Dido to love him. In the second half of the epic, King Latinus offers the hand of his daughter, Lavinia, to Aeneas in marriage, and Juno responds by inciting rage in the hearts of Queen Amata and Turnus and then opening the Gates of War.


In the first half of the epic, Venus and Juno contrive to isolate Dido and Aeneas in a cave during a hunting trip, and there the two lovers consummate their affair. In the second half of The Aeneid, Turnus kills Pallas, inciting the lethal vengeance of Aeneas.

Falling Action

In the first half of The Aeneid, Aeneas leaves Carthage for Italy at Mercury’s prodding, causing the heartbroken Dido to kill herself. In the second half, the war between the Trojans and the Latins comes down to a duel between Aeneas and Turnus. Aeneas wins, and, after considering sparing his enemy’s life, he decides to kill Turnus to avenge Pallas’s death.