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Character Role Analysis


Dido acts as a foil because the differences between her and Aeneas shine an important light on the protagonists and his mission. Dido and Aeneas are both strong-willed and powerful, and this is probably what draws them together. They are also both extremely passionate, though in different ways. Dido is mainly susceptible to the passion of love, whereas Aeneas is susceptible to the passion of hatred or anger – as can be seen in the various atrocities he commits out of rage for the death of Pallas in Book 10 and, of course, his slaughter of Turnus in Book 12. Aeneas's passions only come out toward the end of the book, however. In Book 4, the book that focuses on his relationship with Dido, his dedication to his mission makes him betray the Carthaginian queen. In this book, Dido represents someone who is more interested in private life and love, whereas Aeneas is more concerned with public life, and the duties it entails.