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2. What is the nature of the relationship between Dido and Aeneas?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the nature of the relationship between Dido and Aeneas, and what responsibility that Dido has – if any – for what happens to her. In particular, we think about: (i) the immediate popularity of the story Dido and Aeneas episode, as shown in references to the episode in Ovid’s Tristia and Macrobius’ Saturnalia; (ii) Ovid’s description of Dido as someone who “deceived as she had been deceived” (deceptaque decipit); (iii) the importance of the cave scene in our interpretation of Dido’s responsibility for what happens; (iv) the extent to which Dido fits into Aristotle’s model of a tragic heroine, in particular the idea of the ‘fatal mistake’ (Greek: hamartia); (v) the ambiguity of the cave scene and the reasons why Dido interprets what happens as constituting a wedding; (vi) some possible interpretations of Dido’s strange moment of hesitation before setting out on the hunt; (vii) the different readings of Dido depending on whether one takes a pro- or anti-Augustan stance on the poem; and (viii) the usefulness of Adam Parry’s idea of two ‘voices’ in the Aeneid – the public voice of celebration (pro-Augustan) and the private voice of lament (anti-Augustan).
In this course, Dr Sharon Marshall explores Virgil’s Aeneid through five key questions. In the first module, we think about whether the Aeneid should be read as a pro- or anti-Augustan poem. After that, we explore the nature of the relationship between Dido and Aeneas. In the third module, we ask how we (and Aeneas himself?) should interpret the images on the Shield of Aeneas. In the fourth, we think about the figure of Aeneas himself and his attitude towards Rome’s imperial destiny. And finally, in the fifth, we think about the distinctiveness of Roman epic as a whole and the ways in which Virgil engages with the epic tradition as represented not just by Homer, but also by Ennius.
Dr Sharon Marshall is Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter, specialising in Roman epic, love elegy and the Roman novel.
Cite this Lecture
Marshall, S. (2020, January 15). Virgil: Aeneid - What is the nature of the relationship between Dido and Aeneas? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/virgil-aeneid-sharon-marshall/what-is-the-nature-of-the-relationship-between-dido-and-aeneas
Marshall, Sharon. "Virgil: Aeneid – What is the nature of the relationship between Dido and Aeneas?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Jan 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/virgil-aeneid-sharon-marshall/what-is-the-nature-of-the-relationship-between-dido-and-aeneas