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Female Characters In Lavinia

Decent Essays
Lavinia is a female character who has shown up in many texts throughout history. In Titus Livius’ (Livy), The History of Rome, the role of women is consistently downplayed and is overshadowed by men craving power through conquest and war during the evolution of Rome. Livy briefly mentions Lavinia in the second chapter of the first book in The History of Rome, “The Aborigines and Trojans were soon after attacked together in war. Turnus, king of the Rutulians, to whom Lavinia had been affianced before the coming of Aeneas…” (Livy I, 2). Livy does not describe Lavinia’s character or tell us anything more about her. The character of Lavinia is suppressed by the overwhelming masculinity of male characters in their conquest for power and is presented to us only as a supplement to her male counterparts. In Smethurst’s article analyzing Livy’s characterization of women, “A woman may even cause trouble unintentionally, since her fateful gift of beauty can induce a man to neglect his most solemn duty, devotion to the State” (Smethurst, 83). This quote implies that a woman, and more specifically Lavinia, is nothing but a distraction to a man and his important duties and obligations to his beloved Rome. Livy’s History also mentions the female characters of Cloelia, Virginia, Lucretia, and Veturia who are given masculine characteristics, which is also done by Chaucer to the wife in The Wife of Bath’s Tale. Perhaps the assignment of male characteristics to female characters was done so
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