Dido's Reaction To The Desertion Of Aeneas

1683 Words 7 Pages
Gods have helped to shape the world around us. The deeds that have been done in the name of religion are numerous and awe-striking. A great number of wonders have been accomplished in the name of various creeds. Mother Teresa worked with the poor of Calcutta all in the name of her faith. The dark side of religion is also striking. The Crusades, begun by Catholic Pope Urban II, resulted in the deaths of thousands. The divine in daily life has remained very important from ancient times to the present. The ethical standard of various religions have changed dramatically over the years.
The difference between the worship of the pantheon of Roman gods and the praise of the monotheistic Christian God reflect a dramatic change in the ethical reasoning
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Dido sacrificed her kingdom for a fleeting love with the Trojan prince and she was rewarded harshly in the Legend of Good Women. “But all her agony availed her naught, / For one night, as she slept, he let her lie, / And from her to his band of men did fly, / And at the last set sail, traitorously, / And journeyed to the land of Italy. / And there he wed Lavinia at last, / When Dido into ruin he had cast” (Chaucer 106). Aeneas left Dido to pursue the fate that the gods had decreed was his. The majority of Christians in the time of Chaucer would not have felt pity for the Carthaginian queen. Men in the thirteenth century were not judged by the same standards as women and most men would have believed that Dido dug her own grave when she accepted Aeneas into her bed. McMillan argues that “Dido’s suicide is not solely a tragic act of excessive passion, although passion sets the machinery in motion. Her suicide is depicted as an attempt to escape the destruction that will follow her loss of chaste reputation” (McMillan 8). In Chaucer’s interpretation of the Aeneid, Dido took her own life because of her violation of the Christian ideal of chastity. This speaks volumes to the power of the Christian faith in the time of Chaucer. In the work of Virgil, this concept of ultimate sin did not exist and Dido is seen as taking her life as part of curse to doom …show more content…
The concept of sin did not exist in the time of Virgil. The characters in the Aeneid lived in a moral grey area that resulted from the variety of agendas that existed in the Roman pantheon of gods. In contrast, the religious leadership during the time of Chaucer enforced a strict interpretation of the concept of sin. The cave scenes in the Aeneid and The Legend of Good Women are very different. In the Aeneid, the characters are dealing with intense pressure from the immortals that control their lives. Aeneas and Dido can hardly be blamed for the events that transpired in the cave. In The Legend of Dido, the blame is placed entirely upon Dido. Dido is seen as violating the most important virtue of a thirteenth century women: chastity. Aeneas leaves Dido in the Aeneid because of the powerful sense of piety that he feels towards to gods. Aeneas is portrayed far differently in the Legend of Dido. Aeneas sneaks away in the middle of the night to avoid a confrontation with the Queen. In the Legend, Aeneas seems to be escaping a woman who has lost her good reputation. The contrast between the Legend of Good Women and the Aeneid highlights Chaucer’s interpretation of a dual Christian

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