Importance Of Dido In Virgil's Aeneid
Her purpose in the work is to strengthen Aeneas by forcing him to choose where his priorities lay. If Aeneas is destined to be the father of the Roman race, than he must prioritize his mission over his love for Dido. It is honorable. Dido is not being cast aside then, because he forsakes her for a higher purpose; Aeneas leaves Dido both for his sense of duty and out of fear of the gods. Regardless, he demonstrates the strength of his love for Dido by feeling remorse and approaching her in the afterlife to show that he still cares. His dilemma can be characterized as love versus civilization, meaning that sexual intimacy and passion must be repressed for the good of civilization; Aeneas cannot marry for love. He solves this problem by sacrificing romantic love for duty, order, and …show more content…
He leaves her with tearful eyes and pity in his heart. This image leaves a lasting impression on our own hearts, a feeling of sadness for a forbidden love that was never destined to bloom in addition to admiration and empathy for Aeneas.
Initially, it appears that Virgil is using Dido grossly. The tone seems tragic and sympathetic, and Dido is full of wrath and vengeance because of her suffering. Virgil creates such a tragic situation in order to command the attention of the readers, and to evoke a reaction towards Dido. If she had not been wronged, the reader would feel nothing towards her. But because we feel, we acknowledge her presence and take an interest in her character. Rather than sympathy towards Dido, our feelings are those of reverence and respect for Aeneas because of how he deals with the issue of love versus civilization. Virgil is not a shameless misogynist because he does not belittle Dido; rather, he makes her a powerful, expressive, vibrant persona. When the reader truly sees the big picture – i.e. the importance