The Women of the Aeneid

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The Roman epic of Virgil's Aeneid describes the hardship and misadventures of Aeneas and the Trojans quest from Troy to Italy. Like Homer’s famous epics, the Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s narrative style and structure portrays similar attributes in the finding of Rome. Aeneas encounters several women on his journey who play a significant role throughout this epic in assisting or destroying his journey to Rome. His representation of female characters provides the readers with a better understanding of gender politics and reasons why some female leaders failed. Each of Virgil's female characters demonstrates a combination of traits throughout the epic; however, such behaviors of these women tend to develop unwanted conflict due to emotions. Like in every great story the female characters tend to have a enormous influence on the main character in both positive and negative ways. The first female that Virgil introduces is Dido, the queen of Carthage, in Book I of the Aeneid. Virgil provides evidence that Dido is a strong and powerful leader. "In her stride she seems the tallest, taller by a head than any At the door... Of the goddess' shrine, under the temple dome, All hedged about with guards on her high throne, She took her seat.". This statement illustrates just how supreme and crucial she is. Virgil portrays Dido with a goddess type of image. Not only did she rule Carthage with a strong hold, but she also provided fairness and equality. “Then she began to give them Judgments and rulings, to apportion work With fairness, or assign some tasks by lot”. This quote certainly demonstrates Dido’s type of rulership. Even though, she is commanding the people of Carthage to do their duties, which provides evidence that she is feared because the people do as she says without questioning her demands; she distributes the work evenly and fair throughout the citizens. Usually people would assume that the men go to the king for help or advice, but ironically, the men of Troy,...
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