01-17-2009 04:03 PM
You raise great points that I have to think about. Two things come to mind. First, I tend to think of the gods in allegorical terms. Whether it was Venus or the devil or pheronomes that made her do it, I tend to see it as her personal responsibilty. That's why she felt the guilt she did.
Someone in class thought that she was actually politically ambitious (like cleo?) and that was why she did what she did. I didn't see that, her sister brings that up but I didn't get the feeling that was the real motivation. What did you think?
I forgot my second point! lol But why couldn't Dido and Carthage have won had she put her duties as queen first? She laments not just that Aeneas has left her but that she has lost the respect of her people (not to mention self-respect). She has nothing. I think the implication is that Aeneas and Rome do well because they deserve to, they're virtuous. Wouldn't her behavior be seen as worse than his? The double standard must have been strong then, but in addition, she'd taken a vow.
I was also wondering, in the parallels with Antony and cleo, what she says about wishing she'd had a child by Aeneas... cleo did have kids by both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Not sure how it fits, just seems as though Virgil is doing some kind of compare/contrast with the other couple.
I did find one source, btw, that said that Virgil was gay.
01-17-2009 05:04 PM
A couple of thoughts. This is my first reading so I'm just making guesses here.
l. I can just imgine what Plato would be saying about Dido. "Womanish" "emotional", etc.
Is this a break with the Greeks? It is so operatic and over the top, is this more "Roman"?
But then how could they be "Stoic"?
2. Could it be that the ambiguity in this book is what gives it its power? We see both sides?
3. But lines 437-40 "Because of you, Libyans and nomad kings detest me, my own Tyrians are hostile; Because of you, I lost my integrity and that admired name by which alone I made my way once toward the stars." Are we supposed to believe that? That it was all his fault?
4. Then, line 758, "No; die as you deserve". So, in the end, she does take responsibility.
Maybe line 789 sums it up "Woman's a thing forever fitful and forever changing".
01-17-2009 06:53 PM
A few things to consider:
1. Dido was neither Greek nor Roman. She was Tyrian, Phoenician, Carthaginian.
2. Ambiguity usually does make a story more memorable, and most of the best stories about humans are not just black and white.
3. Don't the men usually say, "Because of you, Woman"? Perhaps this is just turnabout.
4. Does she think of death as something bad?
Last point: Just like a man!
01-17-2009 08:58 PM
I've been watching The History Cannel Presents: Julius Caesar's Rome: Disc l
There is a scene depicted, at the end of Cleopatra's life, where Octavian/Augustus visits her. She tries to seduce him but he does not take his eyes off of the ground. She tries to make a deal where her children will replace her as monarch. He does not take his eyes off of the ground. He does not answer her, he is not moved by her. Watching this, I think that Aeneas is Augustus and Virgil has blended the two. Makes sense if you want to please your patron, much the way an artist will paint a partron into an historical painting.
01-28-2009 12:29 PM
02-13-2009 02:55 PM
If not February 18 (or as well as), someone may be interested in this:
"Glimmerglass Opera’s 2009 Festival Season features new productions of Verdi’s La Traviata, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Menotti’s The Consul and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. The season runs July 18 through August 25, 2009, at the Alice Busch Opera Theater in Cooperstown, New York. For more information on Glimmerglass Opera’s 2009 Festival Season, visit www.glimmerglass.org or call the company’s box office at 607) 547-2255."
Dido appears to be each Sunday in August, 2009, in Cooperstown at 11:30 a.m.
This would be fun.