Choices - The Aeneid essay

1832 Words Oct 18th, 2013 8 Pages
Chosen Fates

Making choices result in actions that ultimately determine fate. Being passive means to not make your own choices; no effort is made to change what is presumed to happen. Often times in ancient epic poems multiple Gods have agendas that affect humans. In the Aeneid by Virgil, Dido is portrayed as a victim of destiny, but is not passive: she makes deliberate, thought out choices in her relationship with Aeneas such as when pursuing him as a husband and when plotting her death that clearly mark her as an active participant in her own fate. The first display of Dido's free will can be seen when she decides to pursue Aeneas as her husband. Aeneas is destined to be the founder of Rome. But the Goddesses Juno's anger
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Thus, Divine influence did not completely create Dido's love for Aeneas, but rather fueled per-existing feelings that had been present in Dido all along. Eventually however, Aeneas' fate catches up with him and he must leave Carthage. After idling along in Carthage, Aeneas is reminded of his duty by the God Mercury; he is required to go on to found Italy. Although he attempts to leave in secret, Dido is not a fool: Dido—for who can deceive a lover?-- had caught his craftiness; she quickly sensed what was to come; however safe they seemed, she feared all things... Her mind is helpless; raging frantically, inflamed she raves throughout the city... And at last Dido attacks Aeneas with [her] words...

(The Aeneid, IV, 395-409)

If Dido were truly passive, she would have let Aeneas leave without any trouble. Yet instead, Dido is deeply upset and agitated; she thinks of ways to stop Aeneas from leaving, and confronts him head on, things all uncharacteristic of a passive woman resigned to fate. A passive woman would have given up far before Dido actually does, as Dido goes on to ask Anna to convince Aeneas to change his mind; she continues to fight to keep Aeneas at Carthage despite him leaving under the command of the Gods, which neither Aeneas nor Dido can change. Finally, in deciding to kill herself, Dido
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