The poem, Aeneid, is a story that offers many surprises. Women are rarely mentioned in poems, such as the Iliad and Odyssey, when they are mentioned they seem weak and timid. Yet in the Aeneid, women make up a greater role. They highlight alternate rates for Aeneas on his journey to create the groundwork for posterity. Two women in particular show possible outcomes for Aeneas life; these two are Creusa and Dido. These women in these scenes are possibly meant to stand for eternity to show alternate outcomes for Aeneas life. They both have different reactions to his continued march to his finally destinations, yet without either one where would we be? Virgil’s prominent portrayal of women highlights the many possible routes one’s life could forge upon.
The first example is at the beginning of the poem, during the sack of Troy in Book 2. The scene begins with the Greeks pillaging the great city of Primus. Aeneas advised by his mother; he decides to take his family and leave the Trojan city. He carries his father.. “So come, dear father, climb up onto my shoulders, I will carry you on my back. (Aeneid 2. 880-881). His son and wife along beside him, “little Iulus, walk beside me, and you, my wife, follow me at a distance, in my footsteps” (Aeneid 2. 884-885). During Aeneas evacuation he loses his wife, “Oh my dear wife Creusa, did she stop in her tracks or lose her way, I never looked back” (Aeneid 2. 915-920). At this half way point, we will discuss this scene. Aeneas is focused on duty and not on his wife as they flee Troy. Creusa is a victim of a pure Roman fate. Aeneas is so driven by the idea that he must make it out of the city. He forgets to make sure that his wife ...
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... He is constantly being told that there is a greater destiny for your lineage. These two examples show us other outcomes the poem could have had, yet these other ends could never have created Rome.
These two women provide a unique aspect to the Aeneid. Aeneas is given multiple chances of picking a fate that would not lead to the greatness of Rome. Though he continues to choice the path selected by the gods themselves, he leaves these women behind as merely ghost reminding him of what could have been. While they are important parts of the book, they are destined to stay in their homelands. While they have very different reactions to Aeneas fate, they both remind us that Aeneas must go to Italy. He cannot stay with his wife in Troy, or stay with Dido in Carthage. He must go on and create the foundation of what will become one of the greatest empires ever.
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