The Aeneid Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Robert Fitzgerald's translation.
Even while speaking she let slip the reins
And slid fainting to earth. Little by little,
Growing cold, the girl detached herself
From her whole body and put down her head,
Death's captive now, upon her strengthless neck,
And let her weapons fall.
Then, with a groan for that indignity,
Her spirit fled into the gloom below. (11.1125-1132)
These lines describe the death of the warrior-queen Camilla. Like the first poem in this section, they place the emphasis squarely on the physical process of dying. Notice anything else weird about this passage? That's right, the final two lines here are exactly the same as the two last lines of the poem. (Note: in the original, these are a single line: "uitaque cum gemitu fugit indignata sub umbras.") In the final scene of the poem, it is easy to see what Virgil means by "that indignity" – Turnus has just been stabbed by Aeneas while he is begging for mercy. Here, though it's a little less clear. OK, so Camilla did die because she got hit with an arrow in her exposed breast, something that would certainly seem to qualify as an indignity. The immediate context of these lines almost makes you think that death itself is the indignity. What do you think? Could it be both? Why do you think Virgil used the same phrasing here and at the end of the poem anyway?