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Love or Duty? The Portrayal of Women in the Aeneid

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Maddie Feeney

on 20 March 2014

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Transcript of Love or Duty? The Portrayal of Women in the Aeneid

Love or Duty? The Portrayal of Women in the Aeneid
Dido
Queen of Carthage
Tremendous influence
Perceived as a distraction
Falls into the stereotype of irrationality
Virgil shows sympathy toward her
Creusa
First wife of Aeneas
Incredible emotional influence over him
Her early death is representative of the fact that she has no part in the history of Rome
Amata and Lavinia
Queen of Laurentum
Desperately wants Lavinia to marry Turnus
Characterized by her irrationality which is caused by Juno
Quickly succumbs to her emotions by killing herself when the outcome is still unknown
Conclusion
Virgil is implying, throughout the entire poem, that all women are the same because they all contribute some sort of hindrance to Aeneas.The women of the poem are either too masculine and considered unnatural, or too feminine and considered unstable. There is no balance. Hardly any positive regard is given to the women, they are "bad" in some way.
Juno and Venus
Camilla
Italian Warrior
She deviates most from the stereotype Virgil is most commonly describing
That of a woman controlled by her emotions and irrational decision
Despite her skill, she is still negatively portrayed because it is unnatural for a woman to be so masculine (Burke 24)
illa vel intactae segetis per summa volaret
gramina nec teneras cursu laesisset aristas,
vel mare per medium fluctu suspensa tumenti
ferret iter celeris nec tingeret aequore plantas. (7.808-811)

She could sprint over a field of wheat
And not even bruise the tender ears,
Could cruise above the open sea’s waves
And never wet the soles of her feet.
Daughter of Amata and Latinus
Not really developed as a character
Symbol for property
'quid tantum insano iuvat indulgere dolori,
o dulcis coniunx? non haec sine numine divum eveniunt; nec te comitem hinc portare Creusam fas, aut ille sinit superi regnator Olympi. longa tibi exsilia et vastum maris aequor arandum, et terram Hesperiam venies, ubi Lydius arva inter opima virum leni fluit agmine Thybris. illic res laetae regnumque et regia coniunx parta tibi; lacrimas dilectae pelle Creusae.(2.776-784)

“‘What good does it do, my sweet husband,
To indulge in such mad grief? These things Do not happen without the will of the gods.
You may not take your Creusa with you;
The Lord of Olympus does not allow it.
Long exile is yours, plowing a vast stretch
Of sea. Then you will come to Hesperia,
Where the Lydian Tiber runs gently
Through fertile fields. There, happy times,
Kingship, and a royal wife shall be yours.
Dry your tears for your beloved Creusa.

atque illi stellatus iaspide fulva ensis erat Tyrioque ardebat murice laena demissa ex umeris, dives quae munera Dido fecerat, et tenui telas discreverat auro. (4.261-264)
His sword was enstarred with yellow jasper,
And from his shoulders hung a mantle blazing
With Tyrian purple, a splendid gift from Dido,
Who had stitched the fabric with threads of gold.
Mythical goddesses
Juno is the root of all of Aeneas's problems
Venus intervenes to prevent Juno from playing with fate
Begin to do things out of vain and spite
Virgil implying that women make life more difficult than it needs to be and tend to act on selfish desires
non dabitur regnis, esto, prohibere Latinis,
atque immota manet fatis Lavinia coniunx:
at trahere atque moras tantis licet addere rebus,
at licet amborum populos exscindere regum (7.313-16)

I accept it’s not granted to me to withhold the Latin kingdom,
and by destiny Lavinia will still, unalterably, be his bride:
but I can draw such things out and add delays,
and I can destroy the people of these two kings.
Despite the help and guidance they constantly provide, the women of the
Aeneid
are cast in a dark light for the duration of the epic.
Thesis
Juno Amata
Venus Lavinia
Creusa Camilla
Dido
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