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Dido-Aeneas Relationship In The Aeneid

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“The Dido-Aeneas Relationship: A Re-Examination” is a written by T. R. Bryce. Bryce’s argument is that Dido would not have loved Aeneas at all had she not been shot by Cupid’s arrow. Her actions toward Aeneas before being influenced by Cupid, he says, were characteristic of any powerful ruler. The queen saw a potential ally in Aeneas, and treated him as such. Dido would not have been completely mad about how much she loved Aeneas, and would not have been throwing herself at him as many times as she had before. After her husband was murdered, she vowed that she would never marry or lay with another man, and she stood firm in that promise up until her fateful encounter with our epic hero. When Venus became aware of how Juno was sabotaging Aeneas,…show more content…
127). McLeish explains that Virgil described her as being a real person with emotions, actions, and wholeness that real people posses. In Virgil’s time, any Roman would look at Dido as weak. She was married to a king that died and left all the power to her. Romans would immediately move from love to duty as they searched for a new ruler to protect their land. Dido on the other hand, vowed against that very thing, placing devotion to romance over devotion to duty and government. Because of this, pious Romans would have urged Aeneas to move away from the weak ruler in pursuit of a greater prize, Rome. In direct contrast to Dido, Aeneas is a perfect picture of the pietas that Romans aimed to exemplify in their lives as citizens. He mourns for the fallen Troy when sees the Trojan War depicted in Dido’s temple, showing his deep care for his city (p. 128). Dido’s stark contrast to the Roman belief system at the time was specifically designed by Virgil to pull the support of Romans to the divine mission of Rome and to encourage pious behavior among them. Had Virgil depicted Dido as a role model after Aeneas left her, the purpose of the epic to encourage…show more content…
Sullivan emphasizes Virgil’s depiction of the pain in the world he lived in. Dido grieved because she was not faithful in her promise that she had made to her deceased husband. She was gravely aware of her mistake and knew that she had no way of erasing its influence in her life and the lives of the people she was supposed to be protecting. Her sufferings resulted from the gods disagreeing over what Aeneas’ fate should be and not necessarily her own actions. Aeneas had his pietas tested when he arrived at Carthage. Dido was a distraction that got in the way of Aeneas’ ultimate goal, but that does not mean that she meant nothing to him (p. 117). Sullivan believes that Aeneas’ deep love for Dido was evident in any passages of the epic and should not be written off. Dido was one of Aeneas’ greatest sufferings and he did not want to leave her in Carthage, but he was drawn to by the divine plan of the gods. When he ventures into the Underworld and is met by Dido, he learns what she did to herself and he broke down and began to cry. This proves to Sullivan that she was more than just a stumbling block in Aeneas’ path. Dido was a lover and one of Aeneas’ most painful memories. The pain of leaving her was almost too much for Aeneas to bare, so much so that he resisted the gods and wanted to stay. His personal feelings told him to stay and love Dido for the rest of his life, but his pietas and duty helped him
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