Literary Theorist Thomas Pavel Takes A New Approach In

1021 WordsMay 1, 20175 Pages
Literary theorist Thomas Pavel takes a new approach in interpreting myth in his article Reflections on the Oedipus Myth. Pavel’s main theme throughout the article consists of arguing that while Levi-Strauss’s structuralist interpretation of myth is important, it is too simplistic and does not suffice in giving an accurate analysis alone. He essentially uses Levi-Strauss 's binaries as framework to approach the myth, but focuses on details within the oppositions to depict the consequences of action. In the Aeneid, an epic poem by Virgil, the binary opposition of voluntary associations versus blood relations is presented through Aeneas’s relationship with his father versus his relationship with Dido. When interpreting the myth solely through…show more content…
Ultimately, Levi-Strauss’s approach to this myth just focuses on the Roman’s embrace of blood relations over voluntary associations and the demonization of the latter. Of course, this interpretation fails to mention any sort of detail that would describe the implications Aeneas’s choice and his relationship with Dido leaving the reader with a partial analysis of the myth. Firstly, the binary fails to recognize the effect that Aeneas’s relationship with Dido had on Carthage and Dido herself. The binary seems to romanticize Aeneas’s prioritization of blood relations over voluntary ones as it leads to the creation of Rome and in turn demonizes Dido’s relationship because if Aeneas had chosen to stay Rome wouldn’t have been founded. What the binary doesn’t do is discuss the negative consequences Aeneas’s involvement led to. For starters, the relationship between Dido and Aeneas wasn’t just a fleeting, temporary, and miniscule thing-- at least not for Dido. Juno herself united them in “holy matrimony” and Aeneas just disregards their marriage without really caring for the repercussions (Aeneid Book 4, Line 146). Aeneas didn’t even care to confront Dido over his decision to choose his blood relations over her, he opts for a failed sneak away in the middle of the night. Eventually, he does leave Carthage also leaving his wife, Dido, in complete and utter distress. Their relationship meant so much to Dido that

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