The Virgil 's The Aeneid Essay

The Virgil 's The Aeneid Essay

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Virgil’s The Aeneid is a series of books mainly about a man named Aeneas who has fled his home city of Troy. In book I, Aeneas and some fellow Trojans arrive at the city of Carthage with help from the gods. In Book IV, Aeneas and Dido, the queen of Carthage, fall in love. Aeneas must leave Dido to lead his comrades to Italy, and Dido is devastated that he chooses to leave her. Some readers of The Aeneid believe that Dido is a stereotypical damsel in distress dependent on a man. Others, however see Dido differently since she ruled over Carthage, and her love for Aeneas was caused by the gods. Since Dido’s dependency on Aeneas was given to her by Cupid, the question is not whether or not she is a stereotypical Roman woman, but the question lies in whether or not her actions are truly her own. Therefore, Dido is an independent female ruler whose tragic fate is caused solely by the intervention of the gods.
There are two things that make Dido appear to be a man-dependent woman. First, she was married before she met Aeneas. When Aeneas and his men arrive in Carthage, Dido is a widow, but she was previously married to Sychaeus, who was murdered in Tyre. The fact that she was married could make her appear to be a stereotypical weak woman, but it actually makes her character just the opposite. The murder of her husband distinguishes Dido from other women by giving her a more meaningful duty as the ruler of Carthage. After her husband’s death, she did not sit alone grieving the loss of her husband and wondering what she would do with the rest of her life. She ruled Carthage not only without being weighed down by grief, but also without the aid of a husband. In addition to being able to recover from the loss of her husband, she is also loy...


... middle of paper ...


...estined to die from grief and devastation.
There is no way to truly know if humans are free to do as they wish, or if people’s fates are constantly being altered by a higher power. Dido did not know her mind and her fate would be altered by Cupid. She did not think she would ever be dependent on a man like she was to Aeneas, and she would not have been on her own will. The people who knew Dido did not understand how she became attached to Aeneas, and were confused when she committed suicide. Had they known that her fate was altered, they would have been more sympathetic to her, and even would have been concerned that their own fates were also being altered. The lesson to be learned from Dido’s fate is not that women are fickle, or that men are deceptive. Dido’s fate teaches that no one can be certain of their future, and therefore must always be prepared for change.

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The Virgil 's The Aeneid Essay

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