Aeneas’s Choice to Leave Dido: Pietas
Aeneas is one of the few survivors who managed to escape when Troy fell. When Troy, a city on the coast of Asia Minor, was sacked by Greeks, he assembled a force and then traveled around Mediterranean Sea to find the promised lands, Italy. The Aeneid is about his journey from Troy to Italy, which enables him to accomplish his destiny. After six years of overcoming many hardships posed by gods and several failed attempts to found the city, his group made landfall at a Carthage, a city she brought into being on the coast of North Africa. Characterized by a reverence for the will of the gods, Aeneas subordinates all other concerns to the task, founding Roman race in Italy. Before Aeneas’s arrival, Dido is the confident and pro active ruler of Carthage, maintaining her center of attention on her political duties as a queen of Carthage. However, as Virgil illustrates the suddenness of the change, by the Cupid’s arrow set up by Juno, who tries to distort the future that her favorite city would eventually be enslaved by the Trojans’ descendants, Dido risks everything by falling for Aeneas, and when this love fails, she finds herself unable to reassure her dignified position. With that said, it is worthwhile to look at whether Aeneas’s abandonment of Dido is a rightful decision or not.
Due to a lack of self control and her indulgence of selfish passion, Dido becomes deteriorated into a bad ruler, which undermines all her civil responsibilities and sends her city into disarray. She falls in love with Aeneas passionately, telling her sister that a flame has been reignited within her. While flames and fire are traditional, almost clichéd images associated with love, fire is also a natural force of destruction and unmanageable chaos. At the expense of falling for passionate love, she loses the support of Carthage’s citizens since she ignores her civic duties as a queen. Moreover, by accepting a foreigner as her lover, Dido...
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