Sympathy for Dido

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  • Sympathy for Dido
    • A Tragic Figure
      • Dido is compared to tragic figures.
        • Compared to Orestes; 'driven in flight across the stage by his own mother armed with her torches and black snakes, while avenging Furies sat at the door.
        • Compared to Pentheus; 'in his frenzy when he was seeing columns of Furies and a double sun and two cities of Thebes.'
        • This is to highlight her reversal from a strong, indpendent queen, to one that is suffering greatly, driven by madness.
        • Rorman audience would be sympathetic as they know these other tragic characters. highlights the tragic end that dido will meet.
      • bitter         sweet - 'grief with grief, love with love'
    • Victim
      • Victim of: Fate, Venus, Juno , Rumour, Cupid, Jupiter, Mercury + Anna's medling.
        • Victim of a mad love - even Virgil pities her, breaking into 'apostrophe' to address her in the book. 'Love is a cruel master'
      • still a victim in death, her wound never leaves her.
      • Deer imagery - vulnerable Dido shot by Aeneas
    • Pain and Suffering
      • Suffers with the loss of her husband and leaving her city. And her brother's betraylal
      • Suffers when Aeneas leaves her with little explanation nor care for her own feelings, she begs him to stay with her. Roman reader would pity her as she still loves him
      • 'suffering from love's deadly wound... consumed by its hidden fire'.
        • 'listen to these words, give a hearing to my sufferings, for they are great'
      • even in death she suffers - 'her wound still fresh'
    • Death
      • Her death scene is vivid and graphic. She suffers whilst dying as her death is long and painful.
      • Description of her death focusus initially on the sword, and the 'blood foaming' on it. Virgil then describes the reaction of her attendents and the 'wailing of women' in the palace. Virgil even includes the effect Dido's death had on the heavens as they 'gave back the sound of mourning'.
      • Roman audience would feel pathos towards her as she dies, driven by her madness and isolation. She dies alone and Anna finds her and cries with her.
        • Anna holds her 'dying sister to her breast' and 'dried the dark blood with her own dress'. The image is vivid and would amplify the pathos and horror of Dido's death.
          • dies in agony
        • Audience feel pity and pathos because another character is feeling the same emotions - Anna
      • Even Juno, the vindictive Goddess, pities Dido in her time of death and sends Iris down 'to free her sruggling spirit an loosen the fastenings of her limbs'.
    • Curses and Prophecies
      • Curses the future descendents of Aenes. These are the Roman people.
        • Roman audience would not be sympathetic and would be angry for cursing their ancestors and lineage.
      • Calls for her 'unknown avenger' to fight against the race of Dardanus.
        • Hannibal - Great warrior of Carthage, successful in the Punic Wars.
      • Curses Aeneas; 'let him be harried away in war', 'may he be riven from his own land', 'beg for help nd see his innocent people dying'. 'Let him fall before his time'
        • vicious and self centred; this is un-heroic and the roman reader/audience would be unsympathetic
      • Dido's offering to the Gods turn horrific; 'the consecrated milk go black' 'the wine... to filthy gore'.
        • sympathetic - Dido thinks she hear her dead husband voice calling to her. She is haunted by her past.
    • Neglect
      • Roman audience would not feel sympathy for her as she neglects her duty as queen to her people. She is solely focused on Aenes.
        • Abandons her family/ sister
        • sympthathy as she is let down - she has given everything to Aeneas; then he leaves with little effort to stay
      • 'The towers she was building ceased to rise. Her men gave up the exercise of war and were no longer busy at the harbours.'
      • All the work that had been started, the threatening ramparts of the great wallsand cranes soaring to the sky, all stood idle.'
      • no self-control
    • Cleopatra and Carthage
      • Roman audience may find it difficult to pity her due to her association with Cleopatra
        • Both Cleopatra and Dido are African Queens, both enemies of Rome
      • Mark Antony and Cleopatra - Antony betrayed his own country for the Egyptian Queen. She is hated by the Romans; 'The Aeneid' was only written 3 years after the events took place.
      • Dido is easily compared to Cleoptra as she is an obstacle for Roman greatness and nearly prevents Aeneas from completing his mission by keeping him with her.
    • Isolation
      • She talks to herself at night, she tells herself 'there is nothing left for you, Dido' as all her allies have left her - The Trojans, Numidians, those who once wooed her.
        • She is the only one who cannot sleep the night before her death, 'she found no relief in sleep', she is alone in the silent night.
      • 'she was always alone and desolate, always going on a long road without companions'


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