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Quotes

Quote #4

Now to the self-same cave
Came Dido and the captain of the Trojans.
Primal Earth herself and Nuptial Juno
Opened the ritual, torches of lightning blazed,
High Heaven became witness to the marriage,
And nymphs cried out the hymns from a mountain top. (4.227-232)

From these lines, it is clear that Dido totally got played. Not by Aeneas, initially (he seems pretty sincere about the thing to begin with) but by the gods. When the elemental powers themselves, plus the goddess of marriage – not to mention that chorus of nymphs – are setting the scene, you're probably not going to be thinking much about the consequences.

Quote #5

That day was the first cause of death, and first
Of sorrow. Dido had no further qualms
As to impressions given and set abroad;
She thought no longer of a secret love
But called it marriage. Thus, under that name,
She hid her fault. (4.233-238)

Now wait a second: what do you mean Dido "hid her fault" by "calling it marriage"? Was all that fancy-talk about the "Primal Earth herself and Nuptial Juno" just a product of Dido's imagination? (If so, it would be an instance of "focalization," whereby the narration is briefly skewed through the perspective, or "focus," of one of the characters; see the fifth quotation on Fate and Free Will.) But no, that can't be right: the main narrator has already clearly shown us Juno and Venus conspiring to set the scene for Dido and Aeneas's union. Clearly, love is unfair, and so are the gods. Beyond that, though, it is interesting to note how love distracts Dido from thinking about what is politically useful to her – in this case, not letting rumors of her affair get around to her enemies.

Quote #6

From all sides
They came up, Teucrians with Sicilians mixed,
Nisus and Euryalus in the lead—
Euryalus exceptional for beauty
And bloom of youth, whom Nisus dearly loved. (5.376-380)

Virgil's depiction of the affection between the warriors Nisus and Euryalus is one of the Aeneid's most positive depictions of romantic love. In terms of general reflections on this human emotion, Virgil's emphasis on Euryalus's good looks calls to mind the view articulated by Yeats in his poem, "A Drinking Song": "Wine comes in at the mouth / And love comes in at the eye." And yet, it is important to note that Virgil doesn't explicitly say that Nisus's love for Euryalus "comes in at the eye" only. To see other reasons for this affection, look at the quotation from Book 9, below.

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