Friday, September 26, 2008

Pensum Secundum

Consider the last segment of book one that we have just studied, 494-519. Examine all of the conjugated verbs in this section, and analyze them by tense. Post your results of that analysis, and then write short essay on what you think the effect of this use of verb tense has on the end of book one.

Have fun!

Mr. P

16 comments:

hope2 said...

Present: 14
Perfect: 4 (including percussus since it has an implied est)
Imperfect: 8
Pluperfect: 2

Virgil uses tense changes in the Aeneid to draw attention to certain actions, as well as to show their sequence. Sometimes the tense changes are simply to be grammatically correct or in normal literary style. The indirect questions use present to show current uncertainty. The Diana simile also uses present to make it more vivid and immediate.
Other times, however, it has a larger purpose. Dido is always referred to with imperfect or perfect verbs, and Aeneas' men are referred to with imperfect or pluperfect verbs. The pluperfect verbs are used when Virgil reminds the readers of how the men had been lost in the storm (dispulerat and avexerat in 512). Aeneas and Achates are almost always referred to in present tense, except for twice in perfect and once in imperfect, describing their amazement to see the men: "Obstipuit simul ipse, simul percussus Achates laetitiaque metuque; avidi coniungere dextras ardebant" or "Immediately he himself was astounded, immediately Achates was thunderstruck with happiness and with fear; eager, they were burning to join hands" (513-515). By describing them in the present, Virgil brings them to the forefront of the scene, allowing readers to feel that they are with Aeneas and Achates watching Dido and the men in the background. The passage begins with Aeneas and Achates looking around the temple (present tense verbs: videntur, stupet, haeret in 494-495), but then introduces Dido with "regina ad templum forma pulcherrima Dido incessit" or "the queen, Dido, most beautiful in form, marched into the temple" (496-497), immediately showing with past tense that she is being watched only and that the focus remains on Aeneas. The one lapse from the present tense with regard to Aeneas and Achates occurs while they first see and identify with the men and want to join them, so they are described in perfect/imperfect tenses to show their solidarity with the men, who are also described in past tenses. This is supported by the fact that the tense changes back to present midsentence with "sed res animos incognita turbat" or "but the unknown situation troubles their minds" (515), distancing with tense as they decide not to join the men. Thus Virgil uses tense change not only to show time but also to focus attention on Aeneas, his hero.

Decline of Civilization said...

Singular present (5):
Stupet, Haeret, Exercet, Fert, supereminet
Singular imperfect (4):
Erat, Ferebat, Aequabat, trahebat
Singular perfect (3):
Incessit, Resedit, obstipuit
Singular pluperfect (2):
Dispulerat, avexerat
Present infinitive (2):
Accedere, coniungere
Plural present (1):
dissimulant
Plural present (passive)(3):
Glomerantur, Speculantur, Videntur
Plural present (subjunctive)(2):
Veniant, linquant
Plural imperfect (4):
Ardebant, turbat, petebant, ibant

The use of generally active verbs of the third declension has a feeling of the here-and-now which would have been great for the driving intense pace that Vergil had set in to motion in the first book. Knowing at the end of book one that Vergil had to keep the same driving pace, he had to setup and ending to the book that allowed him to essentially put you on the edge of your seat. So the use of active language that allows you to enter the action and visualize what is going on rather than be told about that action. The here and now action allows you to become glued to what is happening in the story and want to read the next episode of the story.

anqi2 said...

The main verb tenses used in this section of the Aeneid is the present tense and the imperfect tense. The present tense is predominant from lines 494 to 502 while imperfect is dominant from 503 to 519. There are sparse scatterings of the infinitive and the pluperfect, but their scarcity does not seem to make as much as an effect on the work. Aeneid uses the present and the imperfect tense to express underlying ideas within the Aeneid.

The present tense is used to express actions that are happening in the current time frame. However, even though Aeneid is talking about happenings in the past, literature is usually discussed in the present tense because the events reoccur with every reading of the book. With this definition, the happenings in the Aeneid are alive again. But even so, Vergil creates an unique effect by making everything in the present tense from lines 494 to 507. For example, this section is all about the "forma pulcherrima Dido" who "gradiensque deas supereminet omnes" (Line 496: Dido, the loveliest of form. Line 501: moving forward, she stands taller than all the goddesses). We can easily imagine that Aeneas can fall in love with Dido over and over again, even in the present. Also, in this section, Vergil talks about a lot of timeless things such as Mt. Cynthus (Line 498)and the Eurotas (line 498). The use of ubiquitous nature appropriates the use of the present tense.

The imperfect tense is used mainly in the latter end of the section. This tense is primarily used to depict actions that are incomplete, interrupted, or abandoned. The first imperfect verb used is in "talis erat Dido, talem se laeta ferebat per medios, instans operi regnisque futuris" (Line 503: such was Dido, such was she carried herself happily through the middle, urging on the work of her future kingdom). This action was interrupted by "resedit" (Line 506: she sits). This imperfect tense is an example of an incomplete action. Its effect is to show that Queen Dido's reign will continue, at least through to the next book. There most ominous imperfect verb usage is on 518: "cunctis nam lecti navibus ibant, orantes, veniam, et templum clamore petebant" (Line 518: for the chosen from all the ships were coming, asking for a pardon, and they were heading towards the temple with a commotion). This imperfect tense is basically interrupted by the end of the book. This cliff-hanger invites suspicions and curiosity for the next book.

Vergil utilizes the verb tenses to express underlying ideas in his work. He depicts Aeneas' "present" love for Dido using the present tense. He could even manipulate the words in the end to create a cliff-hanger for the reader. All of these different verb tenses add their own effects to Vergil's masterpiece, the Aeneid.

James_H said...

Videntur - present
Stupet - present
haeret - present
incessit - pluperfect
exercet - presend
glomerantur - present
fert - present
superminet - present
pertemptant - present
erat - imperfect
ferebat - imperfect
resedit - perfect
dabat - imperfect
aequabat - imperfect
trahebat - imperfect
accedere - present
videt - present
dispulerat - pluperfect
auexerat - pluperfect
obstipuit - perfect
conjungere - present
ardebant - imperfect
turbat - present
dissimulant - present
speculantur - present
linquant - present
veniant - present
ibant - imperfect
petebant - imperfect
There are about 15 present tense verbs including the subjunctives, and these present tense verbs dominate the section along with 8 imperfect tenses. There are relatively few number of perfect and pluperfect tense verbs, about 2 perfect tense verbs and 3 pluperfect verbs. The frequent uses of present tense and imperfect tense give the reader a sense of real-time-scene and dynamic observation of the scene and help making a smooth transition from the end of book one to book two. Especially, the uses of present tense subjuntives for indirect question wondering what the Trojans would do at the end of book one bring a sense of curiosity and desire to know more about the next ending.
At the end of book one, Vergil uses mainly present tense verbs to create a dynamic scene and a efficeint transition to book two, making readers wonder what would happen next.

jane said...

As Book I of the Aeneid comes to an end, Vergil tends to leave the reader hanging; hanging in the sense that the reader will not be able to predict what will happen next. This writing style of Vergil’s can be easily detected by looking at the verb tenses he uses. It is apparent that Vergil wants to keep the reader attached to the book by conjugating many of the verbs in the present tense. Verbs that are in the present tense in lines 494-519 include videntur, videt, turbat, dissimulant, speculantur, linquant, veniant, orantes, pertemptant, instans, supereminet, fert, glomerantur, stupet, haeret, stipante, exercet, accedere, coniungere, and gradiensque. These present tense verbs show the reader that the action is going on… hence there is also action that continues to go on. Imperfect verbs show the action that continues to happen. These verbs include dabat, aequabat, trahebat, ardebant, ibant, petebant, erat, and ferebat. Vergil uses verbs in the imperfect case along with the present tense verbs to give the ending of Book I of the Aeneid a more subtle ending. On the other hand, Vergil cannot only use imperfect and present tense verbs because it would not be much of an ending…so of course he used a few perfect and pluperfect verbs. Of the few perfect verbs he used, he included resedit, obstipuit, defixus, secutae, and incessit. He used verbs in the perfect tense to show that some action has happened and will most likely remain in Book I of the Aeneid. This effect also goes for the two pluperfect verbs Vergil uses in this selection; they include dispulerat and avexerat. Vergil clearly shows that he wants some of the action that occurred in Book I of the Aeneid to be left behind, and he wants some of the action to flow into Book II of the Aeneid.

pranav2 said...

When I looked at the tenses of all of the verbs from lines 494 to 519, I discovered that 14 were present, 8 were imperfect, 3 were perfect, and 2 were pluperfect. An overwhelming amount of the verbs are written in present tense, with a chunk in the middle with only perfect and imperfect verbs. This is not an accident. Vergil purposefully wrote in certain tenses to create a different feel at the end of Book I.
The passage begins with Dido approaching the temple where Aeneas is hiding in his cloud. Vergil creates a very magnificent image of Dido. For example, in line 500 he says, “illa pharetram fert umero gradiensque deas supereminet omnes”—“She carries a quiver on her shoulder and moving forward she towers above all goddesses.” Almost every verb Vergil uses in this beginning scene is present tense. Present tense makes the reader fell as if the events are happening right now as they are reading it, which makes the passage more personal, because you can visualize what is happening. Also, Vergil may have used present tense to make Dido seem more like a real person instead of some ancient queen who lived in the past.
The middle of this section has a distinctive section with only past tense verbs, from line 503 to line 508. This is the section where he describes Dido’s official business. He says in line 507, “ Iura dabat legesque viris.” –“She was giving laws and statutes to the men.” The imperfect tense makes it seem very formal and it completely different from the part right before it. It almost seems like it does not fit in with the rest of what is happening in this scene.
Finally, in lines 509 and 510, he abruptly switches back to present tense: “cum subito Aeneas concurs accedere magno Anthea Sergestumque videt fortemque Cloanthum Teucrorumque alios” – “When suddenly Aeneas sees in the large gathering Antheas and Sergestus and brave Cloanthus approaching with other Trojans.” This shift to present tense puts the emphasis back on Aeneas. Vergil focuses on Aeneas and his actions in this part. It reminds the readers that this is the story of Aeneas and not of Dido and the Carthaginians.
Vergil uses different tenses in this last part of Book I to put emphasis on different figures. The switching of tenses makes the reader constantly thinking about what Vergil is focusing on.

Timmy2 said...

Vergil describes his characters not only through what he directly writes with his language, but also more subtly with his use of specific words. In this passage of text from line 494 to 519, fifty percent of the verbs are present tense, and the other half are mainly imperfect and perfect. As this is already peculiar, stranger is the fact that of the present tense verbs, all but three have a subject of Aeneas. For example, in line 495 Vergil writes, “obtutuque haeret defixus in uno,” meaning “and he hangs, fixed in one gaze.” The other real main character in this text is Dido, and all of her verbs are imperfect and sometimes perfect. The text shows this in the next couple of lines (lines 496-497) when it says “forma pulcherrima Dido, incessit magna iuvenum stipante caterva,” meaning “Dido with the most beautiful form arrived at the temple, with a large group of young men surrounding her.” Vergil's choice of tense demonstrates the shift of the subject of his writings. Before, Aeneas was the object of everyone's actions. Juno tried to kill him. Venus tried to save him. Aeneas did not do anything for himself; he was subject to the will of other characters, a pawn in their chess game. Now Aeneas has finally realized his purpose: to found Rome. He finally takes a dominant role in the story, and Vergil shows this by making his actions present tense and making everyone else's actions in the past. Though Dido and the others are important to the story, Aeneas has taken center stage.

Ekip said...

Analysis

494. Videntur - Present Passive
495. Stupet ; haeret - Present Active
496.
497.
498.
499. Exercet - Present Active
500. Glomerantur - Present Passive
501. Fert ; Supereminet - Present Active
502. Pertemptat - Present Active
503. Erat ; ferebat - Imperfect Active
504.
505.
506. Resedit - Perfect Active
507. Dabat - Imperfective Active
508. Aequabat ; trahebat - Imperfect Active
509. Accedere - Present Active Infinative
510. Videt - Present Active
511.
512. Dispulerat ; avexerat - Perfect Active
513. Obstipated - Perfect Active
514. Coniungere - Present Active Infinative
515. Ardebant ; turbat - imperfect active, present active
516. Dissimulant ; speculantur - Present Active ; Present Passive
517.
518. Ibant - Imperfect Active
519. Petebant - Imperfect Active


In the last 25 lines of our version of the Aneid Book 1, Virgil uses Active verbs throughout. He uses the 3 most common tenses used in classic Latin literature , perfect, imperfect, and present (the future tense wasn‘t so common). The ending of Virgil’s Book 1 of the Aneid is concluded like most chapters or essays are in modern literature of today; Virgil summarizes everything that he told, brings most of the journeys to a close, and leaves with the tiniest bit of foreshadowing for what’s to be expected in the next book. In this excerpt, he first explains how Dido reaches the temple with a large crowd of young followers accompanying her, and with Aneas’s eyes fixed on her beauty. [494 - 498] “Haec dum Dardanio Aeneae miranda videntur, dum stupet, obtutuque haeret defixus in uno, regina ad templum, forma pulcherrima Dido, incessit magna iuvenum stipante caterva.” This event is followed by Diana seizing her mothers heart and taking over the thrown. She then walked to the thrown of the godesses, and began liberating the people from such torment by passing new laws and statues as well as mandating proportional work for the laborers. [502-507] “Latonae tacitum pertemptant gaudia pectus:
talis erat Dido, talem se laeta ferebat per medios, instans operi regnisque futuris. Tum foribus divae, media testudine templi, saepta armis, solioque alte subnixa resedit. Iura dabat legesque viris, operumque laborem partibus aequabat iustis, aut sorte trahebat:”
Then something astonishing happens. Do you remember in lines 60-70, the Trojan ships, whom Aneas’s comrades were aboard, that got ravaged out at sea by Juno‘s will? Well in the final excerpt of Book 1, Aneas runs into them again and is absolutely astounded. He becomes so filled with joy and eager to shake hands with his old companions. [509-515] cum subito Aeneas concursu accedere magno Anthea Sergestumque videt fortemque Cloanthum, Teucrorumque alios, ater quos aequore turbo dispulerat penitusque alias avexerat oras. Obstipuit simul ipse simul perculsus Achates laetitiaque metuque; avidi coniungere dextras ardebant; sed res animos incognita turbat.” Now, you would think this would be a final close; Aneas meets up with his friends, happy ending, end of story. However, Virgil would disagree with you, just before the end of Book 1, he tells of how the Comrades meet up and then set off for the temple amongst the shouting and clamor, foreshadowing to future events and journeys. The “gang” has gotten back together and is already ready to set out for more quest.

In the beginning of the end, Virgil uses present verbs along with a few participles to tell of what’s going on: How Dido made it to the temple and currently has Aneas’ eyes fixed upon her and her horde of young followers. These use of present verbs tell of how Diana and her thousand nymphs with arrows in hand walk up to Latona and kill her, and finally of how Aneas meets up with his comrades only to set off again. Earlier in the book, a lot of what was going on was foreshadowing and things to come, but this is the end of the book and thinks must come to a close, so Virgil uses the past and present tense as action verbs to create final events and close off all ties to past ones and bring things to somewhat of an end. However, he does not want to end the Aneid so he tells much of the last bit in active voice to entice the reader to read on, and to leave them on a final cliff hanger he explains of how the “gang” walks to the temple to where Dido is, which is foreshadowing future events. These techniques of using actions verbs and active voice are techniques used by Virgil to simply entice the reader to read on to the next Book of the Aneid


*In my citations I didn't translate literally, but summed up the quotations I hope this is okay. Please let me know for future works.

Hadia said...

In lines 494 – 519 of Book 1 in the Aeneid, there are many verbs with various tenses which have an effect on the end of Book 1. There are thirty-five verbs in total in this section of the Aeneid. Twenty of these verbs are present, eight are imperfect, five are perfect, and two are pluperfect. A majority of the verbs in these lines are present meaning that the action is taking place now. They place emphasis on the events currently taking place. This scene is where Aeneas first lays eyes on Dido; their relationship is an important part later on in the Aeneid. Also, there is a great deal of activity taking place at this moment. This is evident in lines 494 – 497: “Haec dum Dardanio Aeneae miranda videntur, dum stupet, obtutuque haeret defixus in uno, regina ad templum, forma pulcherrima Dido, incessit magna iuvenum stipante caterva.” This is translated,while Dardanian Aeneas was viewing the amazing pictures, while his gaze was transfixed staring at one image in front of him, Dido, most beautiful in form, marched towards the temple, surrounded by a large entourage of young men.” The pluperfect and perfect verbs suggest something has occurred in the past. An example of this is apparent in lines 509 – 512; “cum subito Aeneas concursu accedere magno Anthea Sergestumque videt fortemque Cloanthum, Teucrorumque alios, ater quos aequore turbo dispulerat penitusque alias avexerat oras.” This is translated “when suddenly Aeneas saw coming into the great space Antheus and Sergestus and brave Cloanthus, and others of the Trojans who had been scattered by the storm and the waters, and washed up far apart on distant coasts.” These lines tell of a past event, the loss of Aeneas’ ships, and how they have been reunited. Finally, the imperfect verbs are found in lines 507 -508: “Iura dabat legesque viris, operumque laborem partibus aequabat iustis, aut sorte trahebat.” This translated says: “She was dispensing law and justice to her people, and distributing jobs with fair division of labor, or allocating it by lot.” This shows that Carthage is still in the midst of being established. Together, these verbs help conclude Book 1. They help remind us of past events, and things that are taking place in the present.

KyleP said...

494) videntur present
495) stupet; haeret Present; present
496)
497) incessit perfect
498)
499) exercet present
500) glomerantur present
501) fert; supereminet Present; present
502) pertemptat present
503) erat; ferebat Imperfect; imperfect
504)
505)
506) resedit perfect
507) dabat imperfect
508) aequabat; trahebat Imperfect; imperfect
509) accedere infinitive
510) videt present
511)
512) dispulerat; avexerat pluperfect ; pluperfect
513) obstipuit perfect
514)
515) ardebat turbat Imperfect; present
516) dissimulant; speculantur Present; present
517) linquent present
518) veniant Ibant Present; imperfect
519) petebant imperfect


Virgil’s Aeneid is considered to be a work of genius for many reasons. Something that sets Vergil apart from other Roman authors is that everything in his writing has meaning to it, whether it is the meter, word choice, or the verb tenses in a certain section. In the Aeneid Book I lines 494-519 Vergil uses mostly present and imperfect tense which signifies the fact that Carthage is already a city but Rome has yet to be founded, and also that Aeneas is focused on the present with Dido instead of fulfilling his fate to found Rome.
In line 494 Aeneas is admiring Dido: “stupet” he stares. At this moment, his fate is completely gone from his thoughts. A significant amount of the following verbs are 3rd person singular for Dido (she does something) which shows that Vergil is practically telling this part of the story through the eyes of Aeneas without actually directly saying that. Towards the end of this section, verbs such as “linquent” (line 517: “they leave) and “petebat” (line 519: “they were heading for”) which shows Aeneas and his crew possibly regaining focus towards their journey. If Vergil would have used a lot of future tense verbs in this section it would signify Aeneas’ focus on his mission, but since all of the verbs are either, present, imperfect, or perfect it shows how Aeneas has become slightly sidetracked in his mission.

aimee said...

Dear Mr. P
The present tense occurs about 14 times (more or less I could have miscounted).
The imperfect tense occurs about eight times.
The perfect and the pluperfect both occur twice.

I believe that Virgil used more active tense than any other tense to draw the reader in; Virgil wanted his readers to be enthralled and wanting to know what happens next. The active tense is what modern day writers use when they foreshadow or when using a cliff hanger ending. They too want to make sure that the reader wants to continue reading their works. The active tense is also useful in describing war scenes and amazement. One such scene is when Aeneas sees his once scattered ships now organized and together and the crew members. The affect that it has on the rest of book one aids with the foreshadowing and the unanswered questions. It shows the reader that neither the pace nor Aeneas are slowing down in the next book.

Yayu2 said...

After closely examining lines 494-519, I noticed that Vergil seemed to be switching between many different tenses to create a special kind of emphasis and effect and to separate characters and events. He used the perfect, imperfect, present, and pluperfect tenses.
Vergil started the section off with the verb videntur, which means are seen/being viewed. This verb is in the present tense. Immediately after that in the same sentence, he used verbs like defixus (fixed) and incessit (approached), which are all in the perfect tense. He then switched back to present tense as he went into a simile that is introduced identical to the one in lines 430-431. Here, Vergil might be intending to suggest that the Diana-like Dido is indeed queen of the busy "hive" that is Carthage. All the verbs in the simile are in present tense, like exercet (leads). Vergil continued this pattern of switching between tenses to emphasis the different scenes and views going on. The tenses follow the different characters. When he goes from talking about Dido to talking about Aeneas, he switched the tense to bring attention to the readers that a change had occurred. The tense was past again as the line Tum foribus divae (And then by the Goddess's doors) started but goes right back to past and imperfect tenses as the lines tell how the queen took her throne and did her duties, like resedit (seated), dabat (was handing), trahebat (was assigning).
Vergil continued to draw attention as shifts in the descriptions happen. Suddenly, Aeneas sees his men approaching through the crowds. As the men tell their tale, the tense once again becomes past, which fits the scene since they are telling what happened in the past. Vergil also started using the pluperfect tense, dispulerat (had dispersed), avexerat (had departed). Vergil also used imperfect tense verbs like ardebant (was eager) and turbat (was unnerved). He used more imperfect verbs and ended with the word petebant (was seeking). Vergil also used indirect questions at the end to give an even greater effect to the whole scene.
To illustrate the diverse use of verb tenses, a few lines are translated. Lines 498-499, Qualis in Eurotae ripis aut per iuga Cynthi exercet Diana choros. ( Just as Diana leads her band of nymphs along the Eurotas’ banks or up Cynthus’ ridge) Line 507, Iura dabat legesque viris (Dido was handing down laws to her people) . Lines 511-512, ater quos aequore turbo dispulerat penitusque alias avexerat oras. (whom the black gales had scattered on the seas and had swept to other coasts)
Technically, this section does not mark the end of book one. Book 1 of the Aeneid actually continues on for several lines before it ends; however, this section does mark the end of book one in our book. The reason that the textbook is able to end here is because it is significant and provides a good ending. The section describes many different characters and events. It is no wonder that to accommodate and separate all the different aspects, Vergil used different verb tenses so that the passage will make sense. This use of verb tense really gives a great effect that seems to provide a solid conclusion to Book 1. Vergil is able to include events from many different times because of his various use of verb tenses. The tenses allow the book to end with a lasting impression.

Yayu2 said...

After closely examining lines 494-519, I noticed that Vergil uses 4 different tenses: perfect, imperfect, present, and pluperfect. The predominant two are the present and imperfect tenses. There is a lot going on in just 25 lines, so the present and imperfect tenses allow him to tell what is currently happened and what was happening. The perfect and pluperfect tenses are used when the situation requires events be told from even further back or events that have already been accomplished. Vergil is able to differentiate between the different events and their times and characters with the tenses. It gives a nice effect that fits the stories described.
Vergil started the section off with the verb videntur, which means are seen/being viewed. This verb is in the present tense. When he introduces a simile that is identical to the one in lines 430-431, he keeps all the verbs in the present tense, like exercet (leads). Here, Vergil might be intending to suggest that the Diana-like Dido is indeed queen of the busy "hive" that is Carthage. Dido is still like Diana, so the present tense was used. As he talks about how Dido took her throne and did her duties, he uses the imperfect tense to tell what she was doing, like dabat (was handing), trahebat (was assigning). The tenses follow the different characters and what they are saying or describing. When he goes from talking about Dido to talking about Aeneas, he uses past tense to bring attention to the readers that a reference to a different time along with a change had occurred. It wouldn’t make sense that he would use the same tense to talk about everything that had happened. If he uses past tense in the simile, then it gives the impression that Dido is no longer like Diana, which is wrong. When he talks about what Dido does, it wouldn’t make sense to say her accomplishments in present tense when she was doing them.
Vergil continues to try and make clear the different events that are going on. As the men tell their tale after they rejoin Aeneas, Vergil uses the pluperfect tense, which fits the scene since they are telling what happened in the past from an already past event. He used words like dispulerat (had dispersed), avexerat (had departed). Once the men stop talking, Vergil uses imperfect tense verbs like ardebant (was eager) and turbat (was unnerved) to illucidate what Aeneas and Achates was doing. He ended this section with the imperfect word petebant (was seeking) because he is still describing what was happening to Aeneas and Achates. Vergil also used indirect questions at the end to give an even greater effect to the whole scene.
To illustrate the diverse use of verb tenses, a few lines are translated. Lines 498-499, Qualis in Eurotae ripis aut per iuga Cynthi exercet Diana choros. (Just as Diana leads her band of nymphs along the Eurotas’ banks or up Cynthus’ ridge) Line 507, Iura dabat legesque viris (Dido was handing down laws to her people). Lines 511-512, ater quos aequore turbo dispulerat penitusque alias avexerat oras. (Whom the black gales had scattered on the seas and had swept to other coasts)
Technically, this section does not mark the end of book one. Book 1 of the Aeneid actually continues on for several lines before it ends; however, this section does mark the end of book one in our book. The reason that the textbook is able to end here is because it is significant and provides a good ending. The section describes many different characters and events. It is no wonder that to accommodate and separate all the different aspects, Vergil uses different verb tenses to make the passage understandable. This use of verb tense really gives a great effect that seems to provide a solid conclusion to Book 1. Vergil is able to include events from many different times because of his various uses of verb tenses. In just 25 lines, Vergil is able to tell what happened to Aeneas’s men, Dido and what she did, and what Aeneas and Achates were doing. The effect of predominately using present and imperfect tenses is that they are able to accurately describe the situation and give a good understanding to the piece. The ending might be incomprehensible or weird without this use of verb tense.

Decline of Civilization said...

Singular present (5):
Stupet, Haeret, Exercet, Fert, Supereminet

Singular imperfect (4):
Erat, Ferebat, Aequabat, Trahebat

Singular perfect (3):
Incessit, Resedit, Obstipuit

Singular pluperfect (2):
Dispulerat, Avexerat

Present infinitive (2):
Accedere, Coniungere

Plural present (1):
Dissimulant

Plural present (passive)(3):
Glomerantur, Speculantur, Videntur

Plural present (subjunctive)(2):
Veniant, Linquant

Plural imperfect (4):
Ardebant, Turbat, Petebant, Ibant

I believe that Vergil was certainly working on trying to pull us as readers into what was specifically going on in the last few lines of book one because the kind of actions that were taking place would help keep the story going on to the next book. The use of lots of present tense and imperfect tense verbs help to posture you to see that this is what is going on and happening right now. This wasn’t just something that happened long ago its happening right now, and for us as readers that kind of attitude captures our attentions and keeps us going on. This placement of the actions of the characters in the here-and-now keeps the actions personal and not so distant that you can’t feel or think like that characters. For example when Aeneas views the mural on the wall, the verb tense that was necessary to keep you close to his actions and emotions was present, you had to see and visualize for yourself him crying. If Vergil had decided to talk about the event afterwards we as readers wouldn’t have felt the same way about how Aeneas had reacted to the mural, this necessary interaction could only have been performed in the present tense. Then the combined use of the imperfect tense allows Vergil to continue the actions and emotions to bridge that gap to the next partition of the story, thus they too are key in the equation for this last passage. So through Vergil’s use of the present and imperfect tense he is able to keep the reader focused on what is at hand through helping them experience what the characters are experiencing, and he makes the transition from one part of the story to the next smoother by extending actions of the characters with the imperfect tense.

jane said...

As Book I of the Aeneid comes to an end, Vergil tends to leave the reader hanging; hanging in the sense that the reader will not be able to predict what will happen next. This writing style of Vergil’s can be easily detected by looking at the verb tenses he uses. It is apparent that Vergil wants to keep the reader attached to the book by conjugating many of the verbs in the present tense. Verbs that are in the present tense in lines 494-519 include videntur, videt, turbat, dissimulant, speculantur, linquant, veniant, orantes, pertemptant, instans, supereminet, fert, glomerantur, stupet, haeret, stipante, exercet, accedere, coniungere, and gradiensque. These present tense verbs show the reader that the action is going on… hence there is also action that continues to go on. Imperfect verbs show the action that continues to happen. These verbs include dabat, aequabat, trahebat, ardebant, ibant, petebant, erat, and ferebat. Vergil uses verbs in the imperfect tense along with the present tense verbs to give the ending of Book I of the Aeneid a subtlety. On the other hand, Vergil cannot only use imperfect and present tense verbs because it would not be much of an ending…so of course he used a few perfect and pluperfect verbs. Of the few perfect verbs he used, he included resedit, obstipuit, defixus, secutae, and incessit. He used verbs in the perfect tense to show that some action has happened and will most likely remain in Book I of the Aeneid. This effect also goes for the two pluperfect verbs Vergil uses in this selection; they include dispulerat and avexerat. Vergil clearly shows that he wants some of the action that occurred in Book I of the Aeneid to be left behind, and he wants some of the action to flow into Book II of the Aeneid.

Verbs in the present and imperfect tense appear the most throughout lines 494-519. It seems like Vergil uses these present and imperfect tense verbs when he talks about miraculous and amazing things. For instance, line 494 contains the first present tense verb from this passage ‘videntur’ which talks about the amazing things that Aeneas sees. Up until now, Book I of the Aeneid was a wild mix of confusion and anger, but Vergil uses these present and imperfect tense verbs to tell the reader that Book II of the Aeneid may bring a bright future to Aeneas and his comrades. Vergil foreshadows Aeneas’ fate by using the present and imperfect tense verbs. While Vergil foreshadows the promised fate, he also uses perfect and pluperfect verbs to demonstrate the idea that anger and confusion will be less dominant in the following book of the Aeneid. Vergil’s choice of verb tenses allows the reader to leave behind the anger in Book I, and shift the reader’s mind to Aeneas’ destiny.

Vague Sanity said...

It appears that in lines 494-519 Virgil is using the present tense to describe the actions of Aeneas and Achates and the imperfect tense largely to describe those of Dido and the Teucrians. From lines 494-503, the verbs are all in the present tense; from lines 504-508, Dido’s actions are described in the imperfect tense; the rest of the verbs in the last ten lines (509-519) are largely in the present tense, excluding the verb at the beginning of 515 (ardebant) as well as those at the end of line 518 (ibant) and line 519 (petebant).

The use of both the present and imperfect tenses in the ‘final’ lines of book one assist in further emphasizing and conveying the continuous past or the present now. That is to say that the use of the tenses perhaps emphasizes the incompletion or sense of now. This contrast between actions happening and actions that have happened and are still on-going also seems to serve in a number of ways in relation to description of the characters and the scene taking place.
Consider first lines 496-502 describing Dido: ‘regina ad templum, forma pulcherrima Dido, incessit magna iuvenum stipante caterva. Qualis in Eurotae ripis aut per iuga Cynthi exercet Diana choros…Talis erat Dido talem se laeta ferebat per medios instans operi regnisque futuris.’ or ‘Dido the queen, has walked in to the temple, a great crowd of youths condensing around her. Just like when, on the banks of Eurota, or through the ridges of Cynthus Diana leads her maidens… Just so was Dido, just so she was happily carrying herself through the middle of men urging on the work and the future kingdoms.’ Obviously, Dido is first being described as being like the goddess Diana and thus as greater than all the goddesses. However, throughout the entire section Dido’s actions seem to appear in the imperfect tense: ‘Iura dabat legesque viris, operumque laborem partibus aequabat iustis, aut sorte trahebat: cum subito Aeneas… videt…’(507-510) or ‘She was giving judgements and laws and the labors of the project in fair parts she was diving or was drawing by lots: when suddenly Aeneas… sees.’ The imperfect quickly transitions back from imperfect to present when describing the actions of Aeneas. (Note: This first idea is a bit of a stretch) Perhaps then, although Dido is described as perfect (goddess-like), her actions are on-going and incomplete; thus possibly hinting that Dido is still in many ways human-like; on the other hand, the imperfect tense could be emphasizing the importance of her acts and Aeneas’s full attention being drawn to Dido – Virgil perhaps uses the imperfect tense to also draw the reader to focus on Dido. Still, this tense could also possibly be foreshadowing at the incompletion of Dido’s actions with her suicide in book four.
On the other hand, the actions of Antheas, Cloanthus, Segestus and the Teucrians: ‘cunctis nam lecti navibus ibant, orantes veniam, et templum clamore petebant.’ (518-519) or ‘For chosen from all the ships, they were going asking for a pardon and they were heading for the temple with a commotion.’ Because of this truth, it could be said that the reason all others’ actions appear to be in the imperfect tense besides those of Aeneas and Achates, is because Aeneas and Achates are still within the disguising cloud given to them by Venus. ‘…et nube caua speculantur amicti…’(516) or ‘…and they watch cloaked in the hollow fog…’ The transitions then from present to imperfect signify that the two men are distant from the others’ actions and that they are merely spectators.
Once again, through use of words, the artistry of Virgil becomes apparent. He takes merely the differentiating tenses of verbs and uses them to successfully draw the attention of the reader to closer analyze the passage. He even seems to create this image of Aeneas and Achates engulfed by the smoke of the cloud by simply switching tenses and thus making the two men the happy and fearful spectators of the scene about to enfold before them.