In Book VI of Vergil's Aeneid, which deals with Aeneas' journey to the underworld, how does Dido respond to Aeneas?

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noahvox2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Book 6 of Vergil's Aeneid, when Aeneas sees Dido in the underworld, she remains silent, turns away from him, and returns to the spirit of her first husband, Sychaeus, who was murdered in Sidon.

Dido ignoring Aeneas in the underworld is meant to recall Ajax's ignoring of Odysseus in their underworld encounter in Book 11 of Homer's Odyssey. Both Dido and Ajax ended up killing themselves because of their anger at Aeneas and Odysseus, respectively.

It is also interesting that both Dido and Ajax kill themselves with swords. Typically, the women of mythology hang themselves. In Sophocles' Ajax, Greek Ajax kills himself with a sword he received as a gift from the Trojan Hector. In Aeneid 4, Sidonian Dido kills herself with a sword that she received from Trojan Aeneas.

conilius | Student

she seemed to have nothing to do with him, most probaly it is because aeneas had embarrased her in book 4, and aeneas was the cause of her death 

sharner | Student

She turns her back on him.  Her moment of glory is killing herself because she was embarrassed by her actions in book 4 so to see him in the Underworld is probably mindboggling for her.  So that is why she just turns away from him upset and ignoring him.  She becomes like the "oak tree" as Aeneas was in book 4.