Attitude Towards Women in Virgil's Aeneid

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Attitude Towards Women in Virgil's Aeneid In Susan Wiltshire's essay, she accuses Virgil as being a woman-hater. "Vergil is seen to portray female characters on both the human and the divine levels as irrational and subordinate, while male characters are rational and hierarchially superior" (Wiltshire) While trying to prove her conviction of Vergil's epic, she goes on to say, "for example, Perkell hypothesizes that Vergil altered the traditional stories about Creusa and Dido expressly in order to portray women as victims of the Roman mission and Aeneas's inattention." (Wiltshire) While she does admit that Vergil did not only discredit women, but men too, she felt that his feeling towards women was much more prejiduce than men. While women are labeled to be quite unstable, Virgil gives us such an indepth look at the private lives of these characters that you can't help but wonder if he was merely trying to capture what is "real" in society. "It is extraordinary that Vergil takes any account, much less the extensive account he does, of the struggles, pains, hopes, and diappointments of relationships in the private realm." (Wiltshire) I have to agree with this statement because it is quite abnormal to see this type of intamacy between characters in an epic. You can truly relate to this story. These characters are not seen just as heroic, but human. You see jealousy between women because of looks, much like we see today. Women, as sad as it is, really can be quite shallow when it comes to physical appearance. We see it all over the media with women paying thousands of dollars for cosmetic surgery so they can "feel better about themselves", but really, they are just trying to win some type of competition. We also see in the story what someone must sacrifice in order to fulfill their goals. Though Aeneas's destiny was much more grand than many of our own, we still must make choices that can sometimes hurt others. I really thought that Vergil captured our inner emotions with the affair between Dido and Aeneas.

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