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Rhetorical Devices in Aeneid

Rhetorical Devices Examples in Aeneid:

Book I

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"O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate; What goddess was provok'd, and whence her hate; For what offense the Queen of Heav'n began To persecute so brave, so just a man;..."   (Book I)

After summarizing Aeneas's story, Virgil invokes a muse, the spirit of inspiration, to tell him the reasons behind Juno's wrath against such a nobel hero. Invoking the muse was a common epic trope. It was believed that poets were merely conduits for stories that came from divine sources. Rhetorically, invoking a muse places the story outside of the poet and elevates it to the status of divine truth.

"Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc'd by fate, And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate, Expell'd and exil'd, left the Trojan shore. Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore, And in the doubtful war, before he won The Latian realm, and built the destin'd town; His banish'd gods restor'd to rites divine, And settled sure succession in his line, From whence the race of Alban fathers come, And the long glories of majestic Rome...."   (Book I)

In the first stanza, Virgil sets up and summarizes the entire course of the epic. Because this pity survey of Aeneas's story is intended to both captivate the audience and indicate which story they are about to witness, the story appears to be already widely known. Virgil creates this structure to elevate his story to the status of an epic in which he is recounting a story from history using the help of a Muse.

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