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How Does Virgil's Depiction of Dido in the Final Section of Book one Add to the Depiction of Her That We Already Have? What Impact Do the Roles of the Gods Have Here?

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The first time the reader hears of Dido is through the tale which Venus, in disguise, recounts to her son. This account is merely a description of the events that led to Dido's current situation, but we can infer from it a number of important points concerning Dido's character. We learn that Dido is as susceptible to human emotion as anyone else - she is described as being "sick with love" following the disappearance of her husband. This is essential, as it allows for Venus to act out her ploy in the final section of the book. In this description from Venus we also find out about Dido's skills as a leader, a quality that is very central to her character, when Venus remarks that "the woman led the whole undertaking" (the undertaking being an incredibly large voyage to start a new kingdom). The feature of Dido which is shown most strongly in this passage is her resilience; she is undeniably a victim, and yet handles her position with great strength and success

Before the reader actually encounters dido, we can learn more still of her character from the description Virgil gives of the Carthaginian people, as a "hive" which "seethes with activity." As Dido is the leader of these people, it certainly says something of her that her people are so efficient and hard working. We also learn in this section that Dido is pious, and respectful of the gods; she is building a "huge temple, rich with offerings", which shows her to be morally upstanding, or put more simply, a good person.

When Dido actually enters the book in person, there is more still to be learned of her. Virgil describes her as entering in all her beauty and goes further with this idea by describing her as "like Diana." This simile also goes further than beauty, suggesting a radiance which delights those around and also says something of Dido's temperament; Virgil states that "Like Diana, she bore herself joyfully amongst the people." This encounter with Dido furthers our image of Dido as a leader - she "gives laws and conduct to the people". This civilising influence suggests a level of superiority, that Dido is better than the average person. In this instance we also see Dido as loving and caring - she has already offered shelter to Aeneas' comrades who had been lost earlier in the course of events. When Dido meets Aeneas for the first time, we see that she is, in addition to her loving nature, empathetic, with Virgil describing her as amazed "at the thought of the ill fortune he had suffered"

In the final section of book one, when cupid inspires Dido to fall in love with Aeneas, we see that despite the endurance that Dido has shown during the earlier troubles in her life, she is set to become a victim once again. However this time the reader knows that Dido will not and cannot overcome. This is shown most clearly when Virgil gives



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