“Shall I who have begun, desist, overcome, Nor avert from Italy this Trojan king? The Fates forbid, indeed!”
Virgil introduces the importance of fate in Book I through the interference of Juno, who knows Aeneas’ destiny but still takes action against him. Even though Juno understands that fate decrees that Aeneas will destroy Carthage and make his way to Italy, her anger, borne out of the events that led to the Trojan War and the war itself, dictates she must try to stop him. Despite her best efforts, Juno cannot change Aeneas’ fate but she can complicate it and make his path to Italy even bloodier and more difficult. In The Aeneid, fate is stronger even than divine intervention.
“Wherever Fate may lead us, whether on Or backward, let us follow. Whatsoever Occurs, all fortune must be overcome By endurance.”
Aeneas ponders what to do next after all but four of his ships are burned, but Nautes advises him to keep going to seek Italy. As Nautes correctly points out, because Aeneas’s fate lies in Italy, any action or movement that Aeneas might take, either sailing where he has not been yet or sailing back to where he comes from, will lead him to this place. Aeneas must work to conquer all obstacles, harnessing his strength and that of his people to fulfill his destiny and give rise to the Roman people.
Soon as the fury ceased, And the wild lips were still, Aeneas spoke:— “None of these trials comes, O virgin seer, With new and unexpected face to me. All was foreseen and pondered in my mind.”
The Sibyl has just frantically revealed to Aeneas that a bloody, hard-fought war lies in his future, but the hero remains undaunted. Aeneas’s measured reaction shows that he has come to accept that his fate is the founding of Rome no matter the challenges that the Sibyl has enumerated. He will get through whatever anyone—god or man—put up against him. A new seriousness of purpose seems to overtake Aeneas, who will no longer be distracted, as he was in Carthage, as he seeks the most direct path to Italy.
“If for this fated youth Time and reprieve from present death be sought, And it is your will that I should thus decree, Then snatch him from impending fate by flight.”
Jove accedes to Juno’s request that Turnus be removed from battle long enough to say goodbye to his father. In the wording of her request, Juno shows that after so many efforts to intervene, she at last is accepting destiny. Aeneas’s fate is to found Rome, and Turnus’s fate, as antagonist to Aeneas, is dying in his defense of the Latnium he knows. Juno is no longer trying to prevent Turnus’s death, she is only trying to forestall it for a specific purpose and amount of time.
Take a Study Break
Every Shakespeare Play Summed Up in a Quote from The Office
Every Book on Your English Syllabus, Summed Up in Marvel Quotes
A Roundup of the Funniest Great Gatsby Memes You'll Ever See
QUIZ: How Many of These Literary Jeopardy! Questions Can You Answer Correctly?
7 "Crazy" Women in Literature Who Were Actually Being Totally Reasonable
Honest Names for All the Books on Your English Syllabus
QUIZ: Are You a Hero, a Villain, or an Anti-Hero?