Aeneid Questions and Answers
by Virgil

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Explain the relationship between Aeneas and Dido in the Aeneid. Was the love of Aeneas for Dido only infatuation?

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Ancient epics such as Virgil's Aeneid offer a couple of ways of looking at these seminal relationships. On a simple and realistic level, Dido is infatuated with Aeneas. In Greece, the goddess Ate represents mischief or ruin, and certainly Dido's infatuation with the Trojan warrior destined to found Rome is marked by folly and mischief. Her overwhelming passion for him causes this once remarkable Queen to lose interest in Carthage and her responsibilities. As the response below indicates, Dido's privileging her personal relationship with Aeneas over their respective political duties suggests an irrational and, to Virgil, blame-worthy choice. By never succumbing completely to his own passion for Dido or his desire to remain comfortably in Carthage as Dido's husband, Aeneas demonstrates the selfless and and stoic approach to life and leadership the Romans valued.

At the same time, Dido falls in love with Aeneas under Venus's spell, and Juno also seems intent on thwarting Aeneas's progress....

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