This is, admittedly, a difficult passage with some complicated ideas, and the second question posted above is VERY challenging. Full disclosure: as a serious student of classics in college, I've read the Aeneid multiple times and translated most of it from Latin, so I have some unfair familiarity with this topic. Nevertheless, I think there's a straightforward way to get the Main Idea out of this passage, or any similarly complex one, and then be able to approach 2 of the 3 questions here with confidence. Here's how:
First, try to get as much as you can about the topic from the opening of the passage. The first sentence here is VERY confusing, so just focus on the topic. What is the author concerned ABOUT, nevermind his thoughts? "There is a dangerous tendency...to accuse Virgil of...propaganda." So, right away, we know the author is concerned with Virgil and whether or not he's a propagandist. The author thinks he isn't, but many other people think he is: a classic rebutting-the-argument passage. We should expect both sides to be presented, and the author to pick one. How does the author set this up?
The author will convey his structure with keywords. "One must admit..." means we're getting the opposing side. So here we get details about why Virgil might, in fact, be a propagandist. Fine. We don't care so much about what details there are: we just want to know when the author shifts gears. And it comes ... with a big "However," of course, in line 30. We're now told that Aeneas is "problematized" and therefore it's not actually propaganda. Even knowing nothing about literary theory or Roman literature or politics, we now have a basic outline of the passage:
1. Some think that Virgil, in writing the Aeneid, is writing propaganda for Augustus, but...
2. The author thinks that, in fact, there are problems with Aeneas, so it's not propaganda.
From this, the correct answers to both #38 and #41 above become much, much, much clearer. It's not a full enough reading to answer any and all questions right without more deeply reading into the passage ... but, for those of us who would get totally lost and confused on this, this way of getting the main idea can quickly give you some right answers without too much of a time investment, raising your score and confidence alike.
So, when presented with a challenging passage that you can't understand:
1) Figure out what the author is talking ABOUT, before you worry about what the author is saying about this topic.
2) PREDICT how the author might structure his or her argument and look for KEYWORDS to confirm or deny this prediction.
3) Use the STRUCTURE to help prephrase a main idea, and try to read this main idea into any odd Inference questions you come across.
Hope this helps!
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