Dido's Sacrifice In The Aeneid

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II. A leader is characteristically defined by their willingness to depart from selfish pleasures and act instead with the interests of the greater good in mind. As an epic hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Venus (Aphrodite), Aeneas’s objectives are no less than greatness. Yet, even with the interference and guidance of the gods Aeneas is still very much a man, and just like a man he is tempted by mortal desires; seduced by the wilds of womankind. Perhaps the most noticeable sacrifice made during his voyage is the romantic affair that takes place between himself and Dido of Carthage. Dido, the “wise and respectable” (Casa 111) leader of a successful civilization, finds herself the “victim of forces beyond her control” (Casa…show more content…
Despite the call of his lusts and passion for the influential queen, his dutiful character troubles him when choosing between this romance and duty. “Fair queen, oppose not what the gods command: forced by my fate, I leave your happy land” (lb 131) he guiltily laments upon her distress. Virgil allows the audience to glimpse the conflict that permeates through the heart of his hero. This foretaste evokes a bit of sympathy for Aeneas, yet the reader’s sympathy is drawn more so towards the “wretched queen, pursued by cruel Fate” (lb143) as she rashly chooses death over the loss of the Trojan. There remains a constant battle within Aeneas’s mind concerning his abandonment of the queen to seek out the glory of the gods as fate would allow. However, fate does not allow such desires of the flesh to hinder the success of the overall mission. Fate continues to steer Aeneas’s life down the path chosen by his deities, but the audience can very well see that at the center of this goal driven “” hero is still the heart of a man; one who still acknowledges his own wants, yet accepts that his thoughts and will are second to
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