Women in Society in Virgil´s Aeneid

Decent Essays

Virgil’s Aeneid was to Rome what the Illiad and Odyssey were to Greece, a long narrative that triumphantly related heroic events in an elevated style. While Virgil’s main reason for writing The Aeneid was to foreshadow the coming of Augustus and legitimize his rule over Rome, an underlying theme in this epic is a presence of power among women. Few of Virgil’s women characters fit the common weak and passive stereotype; instead, many are quick to react, extremely emotional and very opinionated. While in a position of power, three of Virgil’s main female characters, Dido, Venus and Juno, allow their emotions to dictate many of their decisions and reactions on matters, thus projecting a common stereotype of how women are viewed in society. Among the three women, Dido’s story may add the most fuel to the stereotypically, ‘emotional women do drastic things’ fire. Though the fact is only known in book IV, Aeneas and Dido engaged in a great love affair, somewhat to people’s dismay as many citizens felt the two had succumbed to lust and begun neglecting their duties as rulers. Jupiter has made sure Aeneas knows his true destiny and that he must set sail for Italy immediately. Aeneas’ attempt to sail away in secret is thwarted and Dido learns of his plans and confronts him, “Yet if the virtuous gods have power, I hope that you will drain the cup of suffering among the reefs, and call out Dido’s name again and again. Absent, I’ll follow you with dark fires, and when icy death has

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