Camilla's Loyalty In The Aeneid

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An Unorthodox Warrior
In The Aeneid by Virgil, ambiguity is embedded heavily in the performance of Camilla, a character with both feminine and warrior-like qualities. Camilla is placed on the fence of Roman society. She is not completely analogous to the mortal women of the epic and is depicted similarly in battle scenes as the two male characters, Aeneas and Turnus. What does Virgil attempt to do with her ambiguous personality? In an analysis of Book XI, Camilla is an assemblage of the unconventional women in ancient Rome. However, her similarities to both female and male characters leave the audience questioning her role in Virgil’s classic epic.
Virgil’s characterization of Camilla’s femininity contrasts the women in The Aeneid, such as
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The ways Camilla attacks enemies in battle are commendable actions of a male figure, a hero even. She is relentless and fights barbarously as “…she kills a pair of massive Trojans, Butes and Orsilochus…she stabs between the helmet and breastplate, just where the horseman’s neck shines bare” (347). The Trojans fear Camilla and Turnus appreciates her martial abilities. The other characters described with the same characteristics as her are Aeneas and Turnus, thus categorizing Camilla as a warrior like. Camilla mocks and assaults her victims just as Aeneas and Turnus do. She uses a spear; she is depicted fighting the same way Aeneas does when he “…brandishes his high spear, that tree of a spear, and shouts from a savage heart” (384). Turnus includes her in his plan to ambush Aeneas. Camilla asserts, “Permit me to risk the first shock of battle. You stay here on foot and guard the walls” (341). Turnus pleads, “Pride of Italy, Princess, what can I do or say to show my thanks? But since that courage of yours would leap all bounds, come share the struggle with me” (341). Turnus depends on Camilla and follows her commands. Upon hearing of Camilla’s death, Turnus diverts his soldiers away from a possible
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