Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Michael R. Halleran
This thesis examines the extent to which Vergil’s Aeneid influences the characters, themes, and epic style of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Focusing primarily on the Carthage episode of the Aeneid in which Aeneas meets and falls in love with queen Dido, this thesis explores how the figures of Aeneas, Creusa, Dido, and Sychaeus parallel those of Milton’s Satan, Sin, Eve, and Adam, respectively. This thesis also shows how the appearance of epic themes such as fate in both texts affects characters’ personal motivations in similar ways, such as Dido’s suicide and Eve’s consumption of the infamous apple. Through an exploration of the ways in which Vergil’s characters inform those of Milton, this work presents a more comprehensive understanding of both texts as literary paradigms of their respective eras, illuminating how authors use epic as a medium through which to communicate their own particular agendas. In addition, this study invites a re-evaluation of established conceptions of epic heroism by probing the reception of the Aeneid in a 17th-century Christian Britain. This project aims to bring a renewed awareness of the importance of reception studies, which is an emerging area of scholarly interest in the broader discipline of Classics.
Braden, Brooke, "Sing of Arms and Disobedience: Reading Vergil's Aeneid in Milton's Paradise Lost" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1949.
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