n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - The shadows of trauma : ghosts and guilt in Vergil’s Aeneid 2

Volume 62 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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This study examines how Vergil uses appearances of ghosts in Aeneid 2 to articulate his hero’s latent psychological struggle with guilt. I argue that Aeneas’ vision of Hector’s ghost (2.270–97) and his interaction with the ghost of Creusa (2.771–94) occur as direct responses to his initial experience of this emotion for his failure to save Troy and his entire family. Hector’s ghost represents Aeneas’ subconscious recognition of his inability to identify the warning signs that Troy would fall. Vergil correlates the Hector episode with Aeneas’ exchange with Creusa’s ghost later in the book to show that she is also a manifestation of Aeneas’ culpability for his role in her disappearance and death. By investigating Vergil’s portrayal of Aeneas’ intense struggle with guilt, another facet of the emotional landscape of the Aeneid can be discerned.

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