Aeneid - Dido

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  • Topic: Dido, Aeneid, Carthage
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The Aeneid - Character of Dido

Dido is the queen of Carthage, daughter of Belus. Like Aeneas, Dido fled her homeland because of circumstances beyond her control. She leads her people out of Tyre and founds Carthage.
When we first meet Dido, she is busy leading her people to build a great city. She is a strong leader and is loved by her fellow citizens. Through the eyes of Aeneas, we see that she is beautiful, intelligent and not afraid of hard work. She is compared to the goddess, Diana "leading the dance on the banks of the Eurotas or along the ridges of Mount Cynthus with a thousand mountain nymphs thronging behind her on either side."

She is determined not to marry again, after the murder of her last husband, Sychaeus. Unfortunately, Dido is doomed to be a victim of uncontrollable consequences, that is yet to come. Looking through the eyes of Aeneas, we see the kindness of her heart. She ensures the Trojans that there will be no harm caused and they can leave safe under her protection. She offers them supplies for their journey or the place for them to settle down "on an equal footing", in the city of Carthage. Dido sent twenty bulls, a hundred great bristling hogs' backs and a hundred fat lambs with their mothers back to the men down at the ships.

Dido is a pious person, she appoints sacrifice to be offered in the temples of the gods. Dido shows great hospitality towards her guests. She prepares a meal for them and offers them gifts. Dido shows curiosty at the end of the first book, when she asked Aeneas to tell her "about the treachery of the Greeks, the sufferings of your people and your own wanderings, for this is now the seventh summer that has carried you as a wanderer over every land and sea."
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