Female’s Impact on Politics in The Aeneid by Virgil
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In the opening books of the Aeneid, Virgil presents many different characters that play important roles and have influences on Aeneas’s journey. This includes not only mortal men and women, but also Gods and Goddesses. Throughout the plot, Virgil constantly addresses political issues through the actions of the characters. Of these characters, the female figures are often portrayed in a negative way. For example, they tend to act emotionally and in a way contrary to knowledge. This implies that women’s participation in politics may lead to negative consequences. Virgil shows women’s negative impact on politics by examining their unfavorable characteristics, such as irrationality, impulsive behaviors, and the selfish desires that often motivate their actions.
One of the main female characters that Virgil uses to present political problems is Dido. Before the arrival of Aeneas, Dido is portrayed as a strong and confident leader. She loses her husband Sychaeuds and has to flee from Tyre by herself. She is able to establish her own city of Carthage and increase the security to protect the city with her intelligence. Moreover, she is an independent and resolute woman because she refuses all of the marriage offers from neighboring cities in order to remain loyal to her dead husband; ‘‘I shall allow no difference between the Tyrian and the Trojan. Would your king, Aeneas, too, were present, driven here by that same south wind. I, in fact, shall send my trusted riders out along the shores’’(Book I, line 809-812). The way she speaks shows how powerful she is and that she is able to lead the nation on her own. However, after the arrival of Aeneas, ‘‘the queen is caught between love’s pain and press’’(Book IV, line 1-
2). She is willing t...
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...nd is far from thinking of such frenzy; and she fears nothing worse than happened when Sychaeus died. And so, she does as told’’(Book IV, Line 691-695). She does what Dido requests because she believes her grief will not be any greater than when her husband died. However, in fact, her assumption is incorrect. ‘’Dido herself-with salt cake in her holy hands, her girdle unfastened, and one foot free of
its sandal, close by the altar and about to die’’(Book IV, Line 715-718). The pyre is intended to burn Aeneas’s belongings as well as Dido herself. Anna fails to realize that Dido is in great grief and no longer wants to stay alive. In this scene, Virgil uses the character Anna as an example of how women are prone to making political mistakes and are ignorant because they often fail to realize details and make assumptions leading to serious consequences.