The Aeneid Comparison

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Rachel Sampley
Rome: Julius Caesar Thru Nero
Kimberly Brown
12 April 2014

When a Romance Defines a City
Virgil’s The Aeneid and the historical figures Antony and Cleopatra are parallel love stories with striking similarities individuated by inverse denouements. Virgil wrote The Aeneid as a tribute for Augustus Caesar, the leader of the Roman Empire and and integral figure in the story of Antony and Cleopatra. The Aeneid’s lovers Dido and Aeneas parallel the true tale of Antony and Cleopatra with the common theme of a heroic man duty-bound to his state torn between responsibility to his nation and amorous devotion to a passionate, beautiful foreign queen. Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid, contains a brief romance between the central character Aeneas and the queen of Carthage, Dido. Though only lasting through part of the epic is the famous romance of this tale. While Cleopatra and Antony were less mystical in their relations both couples were stories of star-crossed lovers that despite their political complications found solace and joy in their relations with each other before meeting untimely ends.
The Aeneid tells the story of the Trojan hero Aeneas's perilous flight from Troy to Italy following the Trojan War. In Italy, Aeneas's descendents are destined to found Rome. However, Aeneas does not go straight to Italy because having been blown off course by a storm, he makes a stop at Carthage and allows himself to stay there and fall in love with the leader of Carthage, Dido (Virgil, 103). Dido is a "Phoenician princess who fled her home and founded Carthage after her brother murdered her husband.” While in Carthage, Aeneas recounts the story of the Trojan War. Virgil uses The Illiad as a starting point and pic...

... middle of paper ... she could have died from poison or been killed later per Roman orders. Despite the numerous ideas surrounding her death, it is generally attributed to the situation between the political unrest between Egypt and Rome, something the resulted as a direct complication with her relationship with Mary Antony. This draws a common factor in the story of Dido as her morbid end resulted from her affair with Aeneas (Suetonius, 373).
In conclusion, The Aeneid’s lovers and Antony and Cleopatra are both tragic tales with many connections to each other. They share a common theme of a patriotic, heroic man having to choose between duty to his country and the passionate love of a beautiful, foreign and strong queen. Then on the otherside, they both depict a powerful and noble queen who is able to overcome the rampant patriarchy in their cities and rule with a firm loyal hand.
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