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Comparing Dido And Aeneas

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The superlatively beautiful queen of Carthage, Dido, has been through personal suffering which parallels that of Aeneas. Virgil portrays her as Aeneas's equal and feminine counterpart. She has had to flee her home in Tyre because of circumstances beyond her control, and leads her people out of Tyre and founds Carthage. Her husband has been treacherously murdered by her brother, but she has like Aeneas gathered a group of her fellow countrymen and arrived in Africa. Then purchasing land with the support of the Libyans she has built a city and is extending it accumulating wealth through trade and commerce. Although she appears only in the first third of the epic, with a short appearance in Book Sixth, her character has been very well-developed. She is an antagonist, a strong, determined, and independent…show more content…
However, the amorous passion is depicted with such psychological realism that the love-crazed Dido becomes the archetypal woman in love. It is not unrequited love, Aeneas is not immune to her charms, but the description of her restlessness and her efforts to keep Aeneas within her presence, the very wild desperation of her need reveals a perfect insight into feminine passion. Even the maternal instinct aroused by her proximity to Ascanius and her affection to the child as a displacement of the love she dare not declare are instances of Virgils superb understanding and observation. Dido is a case of emotions completely out of control and there are consequences. She neglects the building projects that are underway in Carthage and the city's defense is not maintained. Perhaps Virgil’s only possible model could have been Euripede’s Phoedra. But he never lets the reader feel contempt for Dido, there is disapproval of her neglect of her public duties, but pity is intermingled with it. She is a mere pawn in the rivalry between Juno and Venus and therefore a sacrificial
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