The Aeneid Book 4 Essay

Literary analysis Aeneid Book 4

Get Your
Essay Written

Starting at Just $13.90 a page

?Line Quotation Analysis 1 “iamdudum” (long-since) Immediate reference to how she has suffered in the past and thus that her pain has been prolonged 2 “vulnus alit venis” (nourished the wound with veins) Vulnus is emphatically placed at the start of the line, and this vivid and slightly gruesome description adds a seriousness to the tone, with the idea that Dido is physically wounded by her feelings. “Alit” is effective as the idea of her feeding her own wound is the first suggestion of her inner-conflict; she is wounded and yet she doesn’t want it to go away.

It’s as if this description is suggesting the strength of her feelings to be such that they’re having a physical effect on her. 2 “caeco carpitur” (consumed by hidden (fire)) Harsh alliteration hear helps build a dark and foreboding tone, as combined with the violent image of the all-consuming nature of her love, the reader is concerned for her health should it continue. Gives her love a will of its own; uncontrollable. 2 “igni” (fire) The use of a metaphor of such a violent/ destructive and uncontrollable thing to represent her love is effective here.

It builds the impression of her feelings being utterly out of her control, as if they are just happening to her, an impression also effectively portrayed by the choice of the passive verb “‘carpitur”. 4 “recursat” (reccured) Emphatically at the end of the line, draws attention to how utterly transfixed Dido is by everything about him. 4 “viri virtus” (the valour of the man) Alliteration draws attention to the hyperbole/exaggeration in the description of Aeneas’ greatness. This description echoes what we imagine to be going through Dido’s mind, augmenting the idea of Dido’s feelings as obsessive verging on unhealthy. 4 vultus verbaque” (his expression and words) Obsessive nature of her feelings further displayed, as she hangs on such details as his every expression and word. 4 “haerent infixi” (remains fixed) Tautology here emphases to how firmly engraved thoughts of Aeneas are in Didos mind; she can think of nothing else. The fact that these tautologous words are juxtaposed creates a sense of monotony perhaps mirroring the relentlessness of Didos feelings. 5 “membris” (limbs) Further reference to how she is physically effected by her feelings; suggestive of their strength and further concerning suggestions of their destructive nature. “suspensam insomnia terrent” (dreams terrify me to anxiety) Further displays the all-consuming nature of her love, as thoughts of Aeneas appear to occupy her mind constantly, to the extent that not even sleep provides rest from him. 10/11 “quis, quem, quam” Here the repetition at the start of each clause gives the effect of breathlessness, as Dido makes a series of frantic questions and exclamations regarding Aeneas. Once again her obsessive nature is revealed. 11 “pectore et armis! ” (chest and shoulders)

Once again she focuses on aspects of his physical appearance; she obsesses over every intricate detail of Aeneas’ being. 12 “deorum” of the gods Totally hyperbolous; an utter fantasy DIDOS LOVE: relentless, inescapable, so strong it’s having physical effects/ hurting her, uncomfortable love/ obsessive nature, her love is violent and all-consuming DIDOS SUFFERING: images of wounds, her love causes her pain, she cant sleep, her limbs know no rest, her suffering is not limited to the present, but is on-going 15 “fixum immotumque” (fixed and immovable)

Tautologous paired words here exaggerate how inescapable her bond to Sycchaeus feels, and combined with her complimentary description of Aeneas effectively highlights her inner-conflict; she is tortured by her feelings. Also displays her strong morals in her underlying determination to stay true to him. 17 “deceptam… fefellit” (tricked and deceived) Again, reference to past suffering effectively evokes pity for Dido, as she has been hurt y the death of her firsts husband. 14 “iactatus fatis! ” (oh how he has been tossed about by the fates)

Powerful exclamation of her sympathy, emphatically at the start of the line, immediately gives the impression of how she cares for him more than she should. The description that follows seems emotional, showing how strongly she sympathises with him, building the image of her own ambivalence, as she shouldn’t feel this way. 18 “thalami taedaeque” ( bridal chamber and marriage torch) The harsh sounding alliteration in this description gives the impression of Dido’s frustration at her feelings, by giving a tone of annoyance to her voice. 18 “pertaesum” (tired)

This description once again portrays the relentlessness of her suffering, and how such mental strains and inner-turmoil weary her. 19 “forsan” (perhaps) “culpae” The use of this highlights how she is questioning herself, and what she knows to be right. Her choice of “culpae” enlightens the reader as to why she suffers such mental turmoil, as to her such feelings are sinful and acting on them would be even more so; strong morals & conscience 20 “Miseri” (wretched) Anger/ aggression in her diescription of her husband, truly brings to the surface her resentful feelings towards him given the new situation. 1 “fraternal caede” (brothers slaughter) The positioning of this graphic descrition seems sudden given there’s been no mention to it previously in the passage. This effectively adds to the shocking nature of the image. The juxtaposition of these two words contributes to this, as the usual connotations of a brother are of companionship and loyalty. Thus the sympathy evoked for Dido is strengthened due to the appalling nature of how shes been hurt, being stripped of the love of not only her husband but of her brother. 22 “solus” (alone)

Emphatically at the start of the line, this gives the impression of Didos discipline in every matter previous to this one, and thus of her unwavering devotion to Sychaeus until now. 22/23 “inflexit… impulit” (swayed… moved) Ovid uses essentially tautologous verbs here to highlight how huge the effect Aeneas has had is on Dido, especially considering her previous single-minded attitude to remaining faithful. 22 “animumque labantem” (wavering mind) Evocative description emphasising the changeable nature of Didos feelings, contributing to the growing image of her as unstable and increasingly troubled by such conflicting emotions.

The enjambment that follows mirrors these ideas of her thoughts and emotions running riot and playing havoc with her mind. DIDOS CONSCIENCE; undyingly loyal to Sychaeus, deeply troubled by her conflicting feelings of devotion to him and her increasing lust/ love for Aeneas. DIDOS SUFFERING; not only is she in mental turmoil due to conflicting emotions, but we learn how deeply she was hurt when her own brother stole away her husband; once again, her suffering is displayed as never-ending and we pity her.

AENEUS’ EFFECT ON HER; She greatly sympathises with his many trials, and describes him as the ONLY thing ever to have made her question her loyalty to Sychaeus, showing the intensity of her feelings. 24 “tellus” (earth) “dehiscat”(open up) “ima” (depths) Powerful imagery, reference to something as vast as “tellus”, the earth, creates a strong sense of exaggeration; effective in emphasising the strength of her resolve to stay true to Sychaeus. ‘ depths of the earth “is also hyperbolous. 25 “vel” (or) At the start of the next line, introduces another example of what she’d rather happen.

She has used two highly graphic examples where one would suffice, and the positioning or “vel” creates a sense of monotony in her rant, as she struggles to find images strong enough to portray her feelings. 25/26 “umbras… umbras” (shades) “noctemque” night Creates an exaggeratedly dark image of the underworld, and thus the suffering she is willing to endure; further highlights her undying devotion. Images of night that follow continue images of never-ending darkness that shes prepared to suffer. 26 “omnipotens” (almighty) “adigat” (drive me) “fulmine” thunderbolt) Continued strong and at times violent imagery, with the use of strong verbs such as “adigat”; this verbs suggests Dido being forced down to the depths of the underworld, a fate she would accept in the place of betrayal; strength of resolve. Strong images of lightening bolts intensify the portrayal of the pain Dido would suffer. 27 “pudor” (conscience) Use of the vocative as she directly addresses her conscience; creates the sense that such mental trial has lead to a degeneration of her sanity, as she has resorting to effectively, talking to herself.

Also displays her strong morals and sense of wight and wrong; she considers falling for Aeneas morally wrong. 27 “resolvo iura” (break your laws) Withheld until the end of the line for effect, as the fact her conscience, to her, is comparable to binding, unbreakable nature of an actual law ultimately displays her strength in loyalty. This whole section seems to culminate in this one phrase. “ante…quam” Use of apostrophe in splitting this word draws further attention to “pudor” in the middle. 28 “ille meos” “iunxit” “me sibi”

Juxtaposed to create imagery in mirroring their bond, emphasised by the use of “iunxit” portraying Dido and Sychaeus as one person, emphasising how the two are united in love. 28 “amores abstulit” Enjambment mirrors his physical action in stealing away her love, creating a vivid image. The idea of this theft portrays Dido as the passive party, evoking sympathy as if it weren’t up to her. “sepulchro” (tomb) Sinister image creating dark undertones. Reference to death reflects the terminal nature of Didos heartbreak, as her love will always be guarded by the dead Sychaueus.

Tomb is something enclosed, never to be opened, and so the idea of Dido’s love being forcefully held cative is also created; Dido further victimised. DIDOS LOYALTY; undying determination to remain loyal, faithful to the point of irrationality, willingness to suffer the depths of hell and the pain of being struck down by lightening, such is her commitment to Sychaeus DIDOS SUFFERING; mental anguish is leading her to insanity as she addresses her conscience, her love is portrayed as trapped in Sychaeus’ tomb so that she can never retrieve it. 32 “solane” alone) Emphatically at the start of the line. Its clear from the outset Anna’s reply will be sympathetic. While she understands Didos devotion, she tells her what she knows Dido wants to hear; her persuasive techniques commence immediately. 32 “maerens” (grieving) “iuventa” (youth) Anna paints a vivid picture of the depression that will result from such undying devotion. The reference to her youth, emphatically at the end of the line, begins the strong theme of Dido wasting her life and dwelling on the past. 32 “perpetua” (all) Goes with youth.

Anna’s emphasis on how long-lasting her grief will be. Continuing the suggestion of terminal unhappiness. 33 “nec.. nec” Repetition gives the impression of there being an exhaustive list of things that Dido will miss out on should she maintain such adamant devotion. 33 “Veneris” (lust) Given prominence in the line by placing it too early. Anna manipulates Dido in this way, as love of this sort would arguably be the thing that Dido would miss the most. 34 “cinerem” Anna tells Dido exactly what she wants to hear, reducing her husband to ashes with no feelings, loosening her conscience. 3/4/8 35 “aegram” (sick heart) Rhetorical questions, persuasive technique Anna recognises Didos affliction; suggests that her distress and inner-conflict is clear for all to see. 40 “insuperabile bello” Anna turns to another vantage point, scaring Dido with potential threats to her people should she fail to remarry. 41 “infreni” Further evocative descriptions of the powers of surrounding cities. Intimidates Dido, convincing her that she in fact acting selflessly in loving Aeneas; shes acting in the name of duty to protect Carthage.

Anna has made her look beyond her own feelings. 42 “hinc…hinc” Repetition adds an almost frantic, panic-stricken tone to Annas voice, as she builds the image of Carthage being surrounded (“cingunt”) in every direction. Further scares Dido/ allows her to believe she can act in the name of her obligation to the safety of her people. 35 “esto” (granted) “placitone” (pleasing) “etiam” (even) At the star of the line, gives the impression on Anna’s’ exasperation and the undertone of impatience in her quest to convince Dido.

This idea is further portrayed in her constant questioning, putting across her desperation to bring Dido round to her point of view. 36/37 “despectus Iarbas ductosque alli” (granted Iarbas was rejected along with other leaders) Enjambment and omission of est creates a sense of breathlessness and impatience. 45 “dis…auspicibus” (guidance of the gods) “Dis” is placed emphatically at the start of the line; Anna makes clear her intentions to justify Didos feelings in her suggestion that it is the will of the gods. This is to further ease her conscience and persuade her t oact on her love. 45 “Iunone” (Juno)

Mentioning Juno in particular in effective in her persuasion with Juno as not only the patron goddess to Carthage, but also as goddess of marriage. It is her approval above all that Dido would seek. However, dramatic irony is created as the reader knows that Juno in fact ship-wrecked them. “quam, quae, quantis” Repetition precedes each of Anna’s dramatic exclamations. These echoe Didos original speech. 47 “surgere” (rising) Evocative language as Anna creates the imagery of Carthage flourishing under Aeneas’ rule. Her words not only reassure Dido. But convince her of what great good will come from such a marriage. 7 “regna” (kingdom) Referring here only to the good it would bring to Carthage, Anna eases Dido’s conscience to the extent that she does not feel it would be a selfish act, but merely fulfilling her responsibility to her kingdom 49 “Punica” (Carthaginian) Emphatically at the start of the line; firmly reminds Dido that its Carthaginian glory, and not personal satisfaction that they strive to achieve; thus she feels less selfish and her guilt is eased. 48 “coniugo” Bold and direct reference to marriage, placed at the start of the line to exaggerate the impact such a suggestion would have on Dido.

It shows clearly how Anna considers it acceptable to re-marry and is unlike Dido who is wracked with guilt at such a thought, deeming it immoral. 50 “tu modo” ( you simply) This giving of orders by Anna, emphasised by the use of imperative is effective as it goes some way to relieve Dido of the responsibility, putting her conscience at rest. 51 “innecte” (weave reasons) Anna’s the one who plots Dido’s action, displaying her own cunning and further taking on the responsibility of what might happen. 52&53 Evocative imagery of the sea; unpredictability and thus how easy the delay would be. 54 incensum” (inflamed) “flammavit” ( kindled) Semantic field of fire; portrays the strength and uncontrollable nature of Dido’s passion. 54 “amore” Emphatic at the end of the line 55 “spemque dedit” (gave hope) Seems almost unfair in retrospect; Anna has given Dido false hope and caused her endless suffering, as left to her own, she would not have acted on her love. 55 “dubiae menti” (wavering mind) Mental instability 68 “uritur” (was on fire) More comparisons of her love to fire; unpredictable and uncontrollable 69 “vagatur” (wandering) Deeply conflicted; reduced her to distracted wandering. 9 > “peragrat” (wanders “fugae” (in her flight) “coniecta” (shot) “ incautus” (off guard) Simile of a doe; innocent, flighty, aimless, unsteady, unsuspecting, wound imagery. 73 “Lateri letalis” (fatal arrow) Alliteration draws attention to the image; foreshadows her future, dark undertones. 78 “demens”(out of her mind) Obsession, giving free rein to her emotions 78 “pendetque” (and hang on the words of) Deep-rooted obsession. 79 “nunc…nunc” Repetition crates the impression of an endless list of things they do together, as if they are never apart. 76 mediaque…resistit” (stop mid-speech) Distracted, unstable; displays how much her feelings burden her and how shes allowed them to overcome her entire life. 80 “lumen obscura” (darkening moon) “luna premit” (supressing its light) “cadentia sideria” (setting stars) “suadentque… somnos” (urf=ging seelp) V. poetic and descriptive language. Highly spondeic line, creating calm and subdued tone, as nature mirrors everything winding down and people falling asleep. 82 “maeret” (she grieved) As a sharp contrast to the peacefulness elsewhere; Dido remains in a state of torment.

Despite having spent so much time with him, she suffers greatly in his absence. 82 “sola.. vacua” (alone, empty) Emphasis on deep loneliness. 82 “stratis relictis” (the coach he had left) The description of her lying in the coach he had lane on portrays how strongly obsessive her feelings towards him are, and how deeply she yearns for him; anguish. 83 “absens absentem” (shes apart from him and he from her) “audit videtque” Draws attention to their separation, exaggerating the space between them and followed by “audit videtque” is effective In displaying how utterly delusional she is.

We are lead to think that she is having visions of Aeneas, adding depth to the image of Dido being unstable bordering madness. 84 “capta” (captivated) “genitoris imagine” (by his fathers features) Placed emphatically at the end of the line, displays how utterly transfixed she is by anything to do with Aeneas. This description is effective in showing how any slight resemblance or reminder of Aeneas’ looks or otherwise is enough to satisfy Didos’ obsession for a while. 85 “fallere” (to cheat) Gives the impression she’s fighting her feelings, as if her love is something that happening to her which s entirely out of her control. 5 “infadum … amorem” (unmentionable love) Evokes pity for Dido, as the strength of her feelings have been amply displayed and yet her passion is restrained as she cannot act on them. This description brings to light how she is tortured by boundaries and restraints. 86 “non…non” Repetiotion here exaggerates the extensiveness of her neglect to her city. 86 “coeptae” (begun) Creates the impression of the abandonment of duties prior to completion. Thus Dido appears neglectful and distracted, putting Aeneas above her priorities to Carthage. 87 “bello tuta” (safe in war)

Didos crimes are worsened by this suggestion; that she is risking the safety of her people for a selfish pursuit of love/lust. 90 “teneri” (in the grip of) Once again, Dido’s innocence is suggested with the idea that her sickness is inflicted on her and she isn’t responsible for it. Displays her ‘illness’ as aggressive and inescapable. 91 “obstare furore” (obstacle for her passion) She has lost sight of her priorities and nothing can remind her of her duties to Carthage; her feelings must be intense if she’ll forsake her reputation for them. “Furore” is emphatic at the end of the line. 92 “adgreditur” (assailed)

Some violence/ anger implied. 93 “Egregiam vero” (distinguished indeed) “spolia ampla” ample are the spoils Highly exaggerated/hyperbolous language creating a deeply sarcastic and dismissive tone. Extensive adjectives … Use of chiasmus to put emphasis on ‘egregiam’ and ‘ampla’. 94 “tueque puerque” (your boy) Patronising and derogatory language, she dismisses Cupid and shows how little respect she holds for him. 95 “una…deorum” The antithesis of these two words is highlighted by their positioning at either end of the line and attention is drawn to how helpless Dido was in defending herself against not one but two Gods.

In this address Juno once again adopts a sarcastic, belittling tone towards Venus. 95 “divum…femina… duorum” (woman .. 2 gods) The way the ‘gods’ surround the ‘woman’ in this line mirrors how she is trapped and ensnared by them, the word positioning intensifying the physical image of this occurring. 96 “fallit” (escape my notice/ deceive me) Juno is untrusting of Venus… here she adopts a confrontational tone. Suggestion of rivalry follows in 97… tension. 97 “habuisse suspectas” (held in suspicion) Rivalry between the Gods; Juno accuses Venus of acting in fear and jealousy of Carthage.

Thus Dido is an innocent pawn in a feud between the gods. 98 Change to a friendly, conversational tone, indicated by the omission of words… Juno more diplomatic. 98 Persuasive techniques put to play as Juno uses repeated rhetorical questions. “pacem aeternam” (eternal peace) Strong use of hyperbole, part of Juno’s attempt to persuade Venus to allow the marriage. 101 “per ossa fuorem” (madness runs through her bones) Highly evocative, vivid descriptions portraying the all-consuming nature of Didos’ love in an attempt to evoke Venus’ sympathy. 102 paribusque…auspiciis” (equal power) Offers Venus the incentive of equal power, which some might consider her resorting to bribery to get what she wants… furthere incentive of power over the Tyrians is offered. 100 “tota… mente petisti” (what you sought with your whole mind) Exaggerates the effort Venus put in to making Dido fall in love. Further criminalises her and victimises Dido; not only has she been subjected to the changeable wills of the Gods, but it appears in the case of Venus that they’ve made a concerted effort to manipulate her. 105-> The agreement

Venus has been persuaded by Juno, partly fearing rivalry with her (“quis talia demens” who’d be so foolish), (“malit contendere” prefer to compete). Venus also seeks reassurance (“si modo… fortuna sequatur” provided that good fortune follows? ) She also fears Jupiter and gives the task of gaining his approval to his wife, Juno. Venus appears to try and relinquish responsibility: (“perge, sequar”) you proceed, I’ll follow 117-> The plot “unique miserrima Dido” (and together with most wretched Dido” “primos…ortus” (first risings) “nigrantem…nimbum” (black cloud) commmixta grandine” (mixed with hail) “trepidant alae” (beaters scurried around) “desuper” (from above) “nocte tegentur opaca” (be hidden in inpenetrable darkness) “risit”(smiled) Portrays Dido somehow as an afterthought, as if far less important than Aeneas by the use of “unaque”, and Juno’s cold, disliking tone towards her is highlighted with the superlative “miserrima”. A tranquil, serene tone is set by the vivid imagery of the sun rising and its rays covering the earth. This peacefulness is foreboding, however, as we know that Juno plots their fate.

Immediate sharp contrast to the peaceful dawn as Juno puts into place her dark conspiracy. This description is evocative, as hail even more so than rain suggests a noisy, aggressive storm. “Commixta” has connotations of a high level of disorder, creating the image of the chaos that followed such a calm beginning to the day. The word order in this line mirrors the mixing of the rain an hail and the chaos in the sky. Suitable verb to portray the panic and frantic reaction to the storm. Creates suspense as such a level of disorder presents opportunities for Dido and Aeneas to find themselves alone, without on-lookers.

Given prominence in the line by its positioning at the start; exaggerates the great power of Juno and thus the helplessness of the mere humans. Sinsiter description, made vivid by “opaca” emphatically at the end of the line. Suggests how entirely alone they are; image of utter isolation from anything/anyone; foreboding as the opportunity this presents, Juno then describes how they will find themselves alone seeking cover in a cave together, and how their marital bond will be made. Venus agrees with the plan. This is a sinister plan, which contrasts the celebratory tone and innocent intentions of the groups day hunting.

The Gods are calculated and cunning. Sinister cunning of the gods. 129-> The ‘marriage’ “surgens Aurora” (rising dawn) “delecta iuventus” (chosen band of young men) “retia rara….. ” “ruunt” (rushed) “it” (went) “odora canum vis” (keen-scented dogs) “limina” (threshold) “thalamo…expectant” (lingering in her bridal chamber) “stat…mandit” (stood…champing) “picto” (embroidered) “auro” (gold) Another hunting expedition, yet the language and grandeur given to the occasion means its made to sound like a description of an important ceremony, such as marriage.

Although used often in Latin literature, the description of the dawn adds a sense of importance to the day to follow, creating a sense of anticipation from the outset; immediately the tone is not that of a normal day. The suggestion that these men were chosen in some way has strong connotations of a marriage ceremony, as if these men represent those close to Aeneus or distinguished enough to attend the wedding of the Queen. The extensive list of hunting equipment that follows is made exhaustive by the asyndeton, and appears to symbolise the numerous and intricate preparations required for such an occasion.

This list also acts to give pace to the passage, creating a distinct sense of excitement. This tone is continued with “ruunt” portraying enthusiasm and the sort of frantic bustling one might expect at a wedding. “It” is also placed emphatically at the start of the line, giving movement prominence in the line, creating the idea of an animated atmosphere. Even the description of the dogs continues the sense of tangible anticipation and readiness for the occasion. The description of Dido that follows very much mirrors one that you’d expect for her wedding.

The reference to men waiting at the “limina” (threshold|) for the queen is as if she’s undergoing lengthy preparations in readiness for an important event such as a wedding. Even more so, the description of “expectant” (lingering) is strongly suggestive of some form of doubt or hesitation in her mind, comparable to the nerves of a bride-to-be. The sense of delay and of everyone waiting for Dido is extended even to her horse, who’s portrayed as deeply impatient and as champing at his “frena…spumantia” (foaming bit). The alliteration of harsh ‘s’ and ‘f’ sounds in this line intensifies the sense of anticipation and impatience.

The extensive detailed description of Didos clothes is also indicative of a great sense of occasion. Continued references to purple, the colour of royalty, and to gold, associated with only the most important occasions, add a lot to the idea of grandeur and importance. Descriptions of intricate details such as, “picto” (embroidered), in reference to her cloak, carries the idea that lengthy preparation and huge effort has gone into this one day. 140-> 151-> “decurrere” (ran down) “transmittunt” (went across) “ecce” (look! ) Line 154 & 155 “ferae…caprae” (wild goats) 152 &153 “equo” (spirited horse) spumantemque… aprum” (foaming boar) “optat” (he prays) “leonem” (lion) This is an exciting and vivid depiction of the hunt. There is a sense of drama and anticipation. The repeated use of strong verbs of actions is effective in emphasising the motion of all of the animals. All of the verbs one after another gives the impression of frantic movement in every direction, and almost a sense of panic . The use of “ecce” seems sudden at the start of the line, animating subsequent description by the use of the present. This use of an exclamation draws our attention to something dramatic, creating suspense.

The contrast in the rhythm of these two lines is very effective’ 154 is spondaic, followed by 155 which is highly dactylic. The effect of this is to mirror the gathering pace of the deer, with a sense of acceleration in meter reflecting that in the actual description. This is an especially strong verb of movement, its passive voice suggesting an external force has compelled such pace. This in itself creates suspense and a sense of fear of the unknown. The separation here of the adjective and noun is effective in mirroring the action of the goats, down from the mountain.

The enjambment here mirrors the rapid movement of the animals, creating a sense of pace in the passage to mirror it. The following description of Ascanius draws emphasis to his youth, vitality, and perhaps naive ambition. Traditionally, to be riding a spirited horse is indicative of someone coming of age. This is perhaps to draw attention to how much time has past in Carthage, and how long Aeneas has lingered there delaying his destiny. Continues the vivid imagery and excitement of the hunt. The separation of these two words emphasises the sense of anticipation.

The positioning of this word exaggerates Ascanius’ desire and ambition, perhaps so that we compare him to Aeneas who seems less ambitious in comparison, stalling in Carthage when he ought to be founding Rome. This highlights Ascanius ambition in the hunt as well as his bravery, or perhaps naivety. 160-> “magno misceri mumere” (thrown into confusion with a great rumbling) The slow rhythm, numerous spondees and strong alliteration contribute to the newly sinister tone; the alliteration in particular echoes the rumbling being described. “Murmere” is also effectively onomatopoeic. “grandine” (hail) “ruunt” (rushed) Dido dux” (Dido and the leader) line 165 “aether” (witness) The idea of hail as well as rain adds severity to the storm. A frantic, disorganised picture of confusion is created by the polysyndeton used to list all of the people scattered by the storm, with the interjection of “passim” further adding to the bustling, panic-stricken atmosphere. This strong verb displays the violence of the flowing streams, as if they are about to burst their banks; the theme of uncontrollability is continued, which is foreboding as it gives the impression that anyone could be lost in the crowd/storm, creating suspense.

The word positioning here is strongly foreboding as the proximity of the words suggests intimacy; a sense of anticipation is created. The enjambment makes the description of their movement down to the cave vivid, suspense created by the delay before “deveniunt” (they went down) This description echoes exactly what the Goddess said would happen; thus the extent of her power is highlighted, showing Dido and Aeneas as the helpless victims of the gods’ manipulation. The song of the nymphs replicate the traditional song at a wedding ceremony.

However the unusual verb “ulularunt” (howled) creates sinister undertones. Formalises the occasion, as if an official wedding, with the lightening representing the marital torches. 173-> “extemplo” (immediately) “Fama, malum” “malum qua non alid veloscius ullum” (that which no other evil is swifter) “viget viresque adquiret” ( flourishes and gains strength) “primo, mox” (at first, soon) “parva…attolit” (small.. it raises) line 178 to 183 Line 180 Line 181 “condit” (hides) “vigies oculi subter (watchful eyes underneath) “tot…tot…tot” “oculi” “linguae” “ora” Rumour is effectively portrayed as a monster.

Placed emphatically at the start of the line, immediate attention is drawn to the pace with which it acts; its rapid response, with the event in question only just having been described, we are given insight into its power. This juxtaposition is effective; we’re immediately wary of rumour as something dark with evil intentions; foreboding. This strong ablative of comparison is hyperbolas, exaggerating just how quickly rumour spreads. “non…ullum” is the use of hyperbole which is particularly effective in doing this. This description creates vivid imagery of something gaining in momentum, like a snow-ball effect.

The alliteration draws attention to it, and harsh sound reinstates the idea of the rumours ever-increasing strength. Compounding these verbs adds emphasis to the way it gains in pace by the build-up created The repetition of “Fama” in the first two lines gives the word a certain gravitas, which is foreboding of the lengthy description to come. Juxtaposition here is effective in highlighting the ever-changing nature of rumour, making it a force to be feared as its constant growing and strengthening are emphasised. The contrast truly magnifies how rumour can grow and spread.

The length of this sentence is effective; it mirrors the relentless unstoppable power of rumour. Its as if the sentence is running out of control in the same way that rumour is. Emphasised by repetition of “tot…tot”, giving the passage pace. Loss of control after “alis”… dactylic 180 and many elisions in 181 Dactylic line, echoing pace described in the line. Spondaic, slower rhythm, a more serious, sinister description of the true size and power of rumour. Characterisation as sly and calculated, as well as mysterious. Power ultimately overstated by repetition. Given physical characteristics; 184-> nocte…luce” (by night, by day) “caeli…terraeque” “nec dulci declinat lumina somno” (nor does she lower her eyes in deep sleep) “summi culmine tecti” (the summit of the highest roof) “magnas territat urbes” (she terrifies great cities) “gaudens” (rejoicing) “stridens” (shrieking) “facta atque infecta” (fact and fiction) Impression given that her very move has been mapped, portraying her nature of unrest. Contrast shows breadth of rumours influence; omnipresent. Assonance and alliteration; assonance creates a dreary, relaxed tone in-keeping with the idea of sleep, however this is undercut by the “non” at the start of the line.

Thus the idea of her unrelenting consciousness is created, building the image of her as all-seeing and all-knowing. The tautology here exaggerates the idea of rumour over-looking everything that goes on. This evokes fear as nothing is kept secret from her. The word positioning here is effective, as “magnas…urbes” (great cities) surround “territat” (she terrifies). This is suggestive of rumours enormous strength, as one might assume her the underdog opposed to something as vast as a city, let alone one described as “magnas”.

Furthermore, the verb “territat” which rumour governs is singular compared to the cities in the plural; rumour is portrayed as an omnipotent force. These verbs are isolated at the start of a line, creating a pause before them. Attention is thus drawn to the actions of rumour. The choice of ver “stridens” is effective as it has connotations of torture and pain, continuing the characterisation of rumour as an evil monster. The elisions in the phrase merge the two concepts of fact and fiction, mirror how the two, to rumour, are interchangeable. Thus she is portrayed as immoral and deceptive. 91-> “regnorum immemores” (forgetting their kingdoms) “dignetur” (thought it fit) “inter se” (together) “luxu” (in luxury) “quam longa” (for its duration) “fovere” (warm) “turpique cupidine” (shameful desire) “dea foeda” (loathsome goddess) “passim” (all around) “in ora” (into the mouths) “protinus” (straight away) “detorquet” (diverted) “aggerat” (piled up) Rumour delivers truths, but often maliciously twisted, omitting key details. Portrayed as highly calculated, with a motive of its own. Dido portrayed as the victim of rumours relentless mischief.

True of Dido as evidence has been given of the battlements not rising and the youth not training for war. However, Carthage isn’t Aeneas’ responsibility; does he not maintain the underling intention of fulfilling his destiny? Dismissive with a derogatory tone, as if passing judgement on her decision making. Heavy emphasis in their closeness by word positioning. Tone of relaxation and comfort, as if sinfully indulging themselves. Harshly condemns them in powerful exclamation. Considering her past declarations of loyalty, could be considered shameful. But she’s “captos”- very much under divine influence.

Strong descriptor, displays her widely acknowledged evil. Displays the breadth of her influence. Unusual, as conventionally rumours are described as being poured into peoples’ ears. The choice of reference to words is indicative of rumours skill in deception, so much so that men don’t question the truth in what she says. Shows deliberate and conscious choice to cause maximum damage. Sinister implication of purpose behind her actions. Unusual, vivid verb enabling visualisation of his accumulating anger and resentment. 198-> “rapta” (rape) “temple Iovi centum” (a hundred temples for Jupiter) vigilemque…aeternas” (unsleeping… everlasting) “amens amini” distraught in mind “accensus” inflamed “dicitur” (it is said) “auspicis haec? ” “libat” (pours) “caecique” (undirected/blind) “nequiquam horremus” (in vain that we shudder) “inania murmura miscent” (do they stir up empty rumblings) “inania…caeci… neqiquam” The violent story of his conception in some way prepares us for a powerful speech and for his arrogant possessiveness of Dido “100” here is effective hyperbole, as the lengths he has gone to honour the Gods and make sacrifices are magnified.

The repetition of “centum” and placement of it emphatically at the start of the next line truly exaggerates Iarbas’ efforts. Chiasmus of “centum latis…centum aras” draws attention to the number. These adjectives echo the idea of eternity, further suggestive of Iarbas’ undying efforts. These vivid descriptions of his mental state effectively build the image of Iarbas as similar to Dido in his unstable nature, and that his methods of sacrifice are meticulous bordering obsessive. Creates a distance between Iarbas and Carthage, with an element of secrecy as if he feels they’ve been going on behind his back.

Continued rhetorical questions are challenging to Jupiter. The use of “omnipotens” sounds ironic in the context, and is thus confrontational. Powerful exclamation of disbelief and frustration, placed emphatically at the star of the line. Such a clause also makes it sudden and builds a tone of impatience. He suffers disbelief that Jupiter can have seen these things and he is still not in favour. Vivid verb to bring out how extensively they’ve honoured the Gods, but to no avail. “Pictis” also makes this description vivid, as if Iarbas is trying to describe the scene as accurately as possible, enabling Jupiter to visualise it.

This is out of disbelief that Jupiter has not acknowledged it. Reveals Iarbas’ feelings of dissatisfaction with the action of the Gods. Bold suggestion that Jupiters actions are thoughtless, and honouring the gods futile. Feelings of injustice exaggerated. Angry confrontation that respect/for the gods is unfounded. Address made mocking and accusing by emphatic position at the start of the line. Emphasises sense of futility. These are all put first in their clauses, emphasising the challenge to Jupiter to prove his power and that he’s worth the respect he demands. 211-> “femina” (that woman) “errans” (wandering) reppulit…recepit” (she rejected… she accepted) “ille paris” (that Paris) “demiviro” (half-men) “crinemque madentem” (dripping hair) “Maeonia mentum mitra” “famamque fovemus inanem” (cherishing an empty reputation) “rapto potitur” (enjoys possession of what he has stolen) Derogatory reference to Dido, initiating tone of disdain and resentment towards her. Apt choice of verb, as it has connotations of aimlessness, portraying her as helpless. Iarbas tries to make it appear charitable that he helped her. Enjambment puts emphasis on “exiguam”, belittling her achievements and highlighting his bitterness.

Reference to ploughing the shore we can equate to the modern expression of wasting ones time. Further belittles her efforts. These verbs frame the line at start and finish, drawing attention to the contrast. Thus Iarbas is portrayed as bitter and envious of Aeneas. “reppulit” at the start of the line exaggerates the harshness of the rejection as the word seems sudden. Derogatory. Paris is synonymous with someone dishonest who steals wives. Iarbas equating Aeneas with Paris outlines just how indignant he is towards him and how resentful he is of him. He also tries to belittle him, making him out to be an effeminate womaniser.

Portrays him as effeminate, belittling him and making him appear even less deserving of Didos’ affection. Vivid description of the effeminate dress of the Trojans; mocking. Harsh alliteration builds a scornful tone. Accusing, disdainful of Jupiter, utter loss of faith and trust in his powers, emphasis by finishing with “inanem”. Condemns Paris and thus Aeneas as a thief, displaying a fierce sense of possession of and rite to Dido. 219-> “talibus.. dictis” (such words) “arasque tenetem” (holding the altars) “oculosque…torsit” (he twisted his eyes) “vade” (off with you now) “voca” (call) labere” (glide) “Dardaniumque ducem” (Trojan leader) “expectat” (delays) “non respicit” (he does not think about) “celeres…aura” (swift breezes) “promisit” (promised) “genetrix pulcherrima talem” (such a beautiful mother) “bis vindicat”(twice rescuing) “armis” (arms of the greeks) “gravidam imperiis” (pregnant with empie) “belloque frementem” (seething with war) “totem…orbem” (the whole world) line 234 and 236 “Ascanione…. invidet” (begrudge Ascanius) “quid struit” (what does he have in mind) “naviget! ” (set sail) Iarbas’ response having heard Jupiters’ plea/confrontation.

Emphasis on just how powerful and passionate Iarbas’s words were, exaggerating his frustration and anger towards Jupiter This vivid imagery is effective in showing how his internal frustration is being externalised in physical actions, as we imagine him angrily clasping the altars, trying to force the desired response from the Gods. Iarbas has gained Jupiter’s attention; his words were potent enough to provoke a response. Jupiter’s speech begins powerfully with an imperative demanding action of Mercury, showing Iarbas’ words to have compelled him into an immediate response.

The two imperatives that follow have the same effect, that of an immediate and hasty response. The sudden commands also add a tone of alarm/urgency and perhaps anger/impatience to Jupiters’ voice. Immediate reference to Aeneas shows Jupiter from the outset, clearing shocked at Iarbas’ confrontation, attempting to deflect the blame and rid himself of the responsibility of Iarbas’ accusations. The fact that he does not mention Aeneas by name makes his words dismissive and disdainful. Placed emphatically at the start of the line, as if it’s a shock or sudden realisation that Aeneas is still in Carthage.

Further angry undertones are created with the suggestion of Aeneas as neglectful of his duty, having forgotten his destiny. As the first word in the second clause, “fatosque” is given prominence and a sense of importance, mirroring the views of the Gods that destiny takes precedence over everything. Thus Jupiters’ feelings towards Aeneas seem increasingly disdainful. Iniciate The following reference to haste amplifies the urgency in Jupiters’ tone, further suggesting that Iarbas has brought to light something Jupiter had overlooked until now, and is alarmed at the realisation of.

Sense of the binding obligation to provide such a man. Tone of disappointment and of Jupiters’ dissatisfaction, as if Aeneas has fallen short of expectations. Use of hyperbole to exaggerate the contrast between Aeneas’ mother, and what he ought to be living up to, and Aeneas who’s delaying his destiny. Jupiters’ dissatisfaction is brought to light. The description of Godly intervention enabling Aeneas to fulfil his destiny, the extent of which is emphasised by “bis”, is suggestive of ingratitude on Aeneas’ part. Thus Jupiter appears indignant at his behaviour.

Suggesting it was a close call and that without them Aeneas wouldn’t have survived. These vivid images of greatness and plenty juxtaposed show the future that Aeneas is forsaking. Thus it seems inexplicable that he should still be in Carthage, and the hyperbole of these descriptions is effective in making Jupiter seem mystified as to why. The positioning of Italiam gives it prominence, as Jupiter draws attention to where Aeneas should be, creating a contrast and sense of dissatisfaction on Jupiters’ part. The use of hyperbole further exaggerates the power Aeneas is forsaking In elaying. The use of rhetorical questions as Jupiter probes Aeneas on, what seems to Jupiter, an inexplicable decision to stay in Carthage, causes Jupiter to seem increasingly angry. Another device Jupiter uses is the attempt to evoke guilt; line 234 suggests Aeneas’ selfishness in not only delaying his own destiny, but in denying Ascanius of his rite to do the same. This exclamation ultimately magnifies the tone of Jupiters’ bewilderment and frustration at Aeneas’ actions. This ones word clause acts to summarise Jupiters’ message, bringing out his impatience.

His haste suggests that Iarbas’ words have had a great effect, bringing him to the realisation that immediate action must be taken. Line 238-> Lengthy description of Mercury, his role as a god and how he set out to find Aeneas. 279-> “at vero” “obmuutuit” (stuck dumb) “amens” (out of his mind) “arrectae horror comae” (his hairs stood up on end in horror) “vox facibus haesit” (his voice was stuck in his throat) “ardet abire” (he burned to leave) “fuga dulcesque” (in flight, from theses sweet lands” “heu…quo…quae” “nunc…nunc” “animus… dividet” (he turned his thoughts) “perque omnia versat” (turning them through every possibility)

Mercury appears to Aeneas in a dream, to compel him to set sail for Italy immediately. Powerful introduction indicates the sudden reversion to describing Aeneas and his feelings, as opposed to as in the majority of book 4, describing Dido. Emphasis of the shock; his alarm is of such an extent that its having physical manifestations. Effective in its emphatic positioning at the end of the line; he’s so surprised its as if he has lost all rational thought. Further physical manifestations of his alarm. Vivid description. Connotations of fire suggest the strength and speed of his response.

The assonance also mimics an exclamation, revealing his strong feelings for the matter. The choice of “ardet” is particularly effective, as Didos love for Aeneas is often likened to fire; For Aeneas, however, such strong passion s reserved for his duty, creating a poignant contrast. A telling juxtaposition of his inner-conflict; “Fuga” suggests a sense of urgency in leaving and to some extent, shame that you might expect of a criminal fleeing from accusation. However “dulcesque” is as if he loves Carthage and doesn’t want to leave; he is comfortable and happy in his life with Dido, but his commitment lies with Trojan destiny.

Do you like
this material?Get help to write a similar one

The techniques that follow are all to display his distress at such a realisation, and ambivalence as to the best course of action with regard to telling Dido. A series of rhetorical questions brings to light his inner-conflict. Parallel phrasing gives the passage a sense of pace, suggestive of Aeneas’ panic. Indecisive, ambivalent, conflicted. Emphatic verb at the end of the line. He’s expending every option in his fraught quest to ease the situation for Dido, whilst fulfilling what he must, his destiny.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in The Aeneid

Literary analysis Aeneid Book 4

We have so large base of authors that we can prepare a unique summary of any book. Don't believe? Check it!

How fast would you like to get it?

Book IV begins just after Aeneas has finished the tale of his travels. Dido sits beside him, inflamed with love. She looks to her sister, Anna, for guidance, torn between the promise she made never to love another man after her husband's death on the one hand, and on the other hand the passion that she feels for Aeneas. Anna tells Dido that she should embrace such love, exciting her imagination by talking about the incredible kingdom that the two of them could build together: "If you marry Aeneas, what a city/ and what a kingdom, sister, you will see!" (64-65).

Having decided to pursue Aeneas, Dido leads him around Carthage, displaying its many marvels. Dido begins acting "insane" (102): she begs him to tell her the entire story of his journey again, hugs Ascanius to her, and allows all work on the construction of Carthage to fall idle. Juno, seeing her dear Dido in such misery, asks Venus if she will help her wed the pair, but Venus recognizes that Juno's motive is to move Aeneas's destined kingdom from Italy to Libya. She tells Juno that she does not want war, but that she fears that fate will not be so easily tricked. Nevertheless, Venus offers the queen of the gods her blessing to go and entreat Jupiter. Juno replies that she will do so, but in the meantime she will hatch a plan to strand Aeneas and Dido overnight in the same cave, where they will be united in marriage.

The next day, the palace sets out on a hunt, but Dido and Aeneas are caught in a thunderstorm and seek shelter in a cave. They sleep together, which Dido interprets as "marriage" to make herself feel less guilty. Afterward, Rumor (described as a terrifying monster) carries word of the pair across the land, and it finally reaches the ears of King Iarbas, who had allowed Dido to build Carthage on his territory and is now angered that she did not marry him but instead took a foreigner as a partner. Jupiter hears King Iarbas's rage and sends Mercury to Aeneas with a message: he did not save Aeneas from the Greeks for this; his destiny lies elsewhere, and he must not begrudge Ascanius his great future.

Aeneas is stunned by Mercury's words. He tells his men to ready the fleet in silence. Nevertheless, Dido catches word of his plan and "raves throughout the city" (403). She then attacks Aeneas with what is undoubtedly the finest, most impassioned speech accorded to any woman in the Aeneid, cursing him for taking her honor and then leaving her without a word. Aeneas counters her anger by hesitantly stating that while he appreciates her kindness, he had never agreed to enter into a marriage contract. Again, he mentions his duty to Ascanius and tells her, "Stop your quarrel. It is not/ my own free will that leads to Italy" (491-492). Dido is not swayed by his words; she rails against him once again, cursing his journey. With this, Dido faints, and Aeneas (with only a little hesitation) turns back to his fleet.

Later, Dido watches the fleet raising their sails in the harbor, ready to leave, and she calls for Anna. She asks her sister to go to Aeneas and ask him to give her just a little more time, so that she may learn "how to sorrow" (598). Anna does her sister's bidding, but Aeneas cannot be swayed. At this, the miserable Dido resolves to die. She asks Anna to build a pyre in her courtyard and lay Aeneas's weapons upon it. Anna, believing that Dido simply wishes to rid herself of any remnants of Aeneas, does as she is told. That night, however, Dido constructs an elaborate ritual, with many sacrifices, and cries out another extraordinary lament for Aeneas's love.

Meanwhile, as Aeneas is asleep in his ship in the harbor, he is visited by Mercury, who warns him that the city will soon be ablaze and that he must depart immediately. Aeneas awakens in terror and calls out to his men to set sail. Dido sees the fleet moving out to sea and beats against her breast, cursing Aeneas and crying out to the gods. She asks Barce, Sychaeus's nurse, to send Anna to her to bathe her body in river water and offer sacrifies. Barce goes, and Dido is left alone to mount the pyre. Atop the structure, she grasps Aeneas's sword, mourns the day the Trojans ever set foot on her shores, and with these words - "I shall die unavenged, but I shall die" (909) - she plunges the sword through her chest.

The city is thrown into a panic at word of the queen's death. Anna, hearing the commotion, runs through the crowd to find her sister's body. Crying out, she clutches Dido to her chest and holds her sister as she finally dies. Book IV ends when Juno, looking down on the sorry sight, sends Iris to free Dido from her tormented body.


Except for the goddesses, the female characters in the Aeneid are, by and large, fairly unremarkable. While Juno and Venus are given distinctive personalities and a hand in driving the action of the narrative, most of the mortal women are far more ineffectual and shapeless. Creusa, for example, is only a vague presence in Book II, and she appears to exist largely in order to die, thereby deepening Aeneas's character and freeing him from the bonds of a wife while explaining the presence of his son. Dido, in sharp contrast, is as rich a character as any other in the epic.

Although the gods in the Aeneid frequently meddle in the lives of mortals, Dido is perhaps the clearest example of the potentially tragic consequences of such intervention. Dido is their plaything, and the pain that wracks her body at the sight of Aeneas and his troops fleeing the city is a visceral example of the importance of abiding by one's destiny. Indeed, Dido is one of the few characters in the Aeneid to truly rail against the dictates of fate. She knows that Aeneas is destined to leave Carthage and to begin a new empire, but the love that she feels for him is so overwhelming that she struggles against the will of the very gods. This struggle makes her perhaps one of the strongest, most courageous characters in the tale.

Dido's character serves two other distinct purposes. First, Virgil uses the Dido/Aeneas conflict to explain the antagonistic relationship between Rome and Carthage in the real world, which came to a head during the Punic Wars. More interesting, however, is the notion that Virgil employs Dido in order to reveal Aeneas's humanity. The protagonist usually seems too perfect: a flawless, unfailingly moral paragon of virtue and courage. By creating a situation in which Aeneas reveals his weakness in the face of love, tempted to stray from his fate - forcing his fleet to dock in Carthage for an uncomfortably, irresponsibly long period of time - Aeneas is revealed as not just a goddess-born hero, but as an imperfect man. His decision to give up love for the betterment of future generations is truly difficult for him, making his decision arguably more honorable.

An alternative perspective on Aeneas's behavior in Book IV is that he is, as David Denby writes, a "cold fish" and a "cad." Dido displays genuine sexual passion that is not found anywhere else in the poem (except, perhaps, in Turnus's desire to wed Lavinia), but Aeneas appears unemotional, even cruel in his ability to walk away from his former lover, despite her desperate entreaties. Even though Aeneas is the hero, he does not behave particularly heroically in this episode. Virgil could have chosen to write a scene where Aeneas takes tearful leave from his lover, wrenching himself from her side even though he finds it almost unbearable to inflict such pain upon another human being, but instead Virgil has him behave in a callous (and cowardly) manner, fleeing the city under cover of darkness. Yes, he dutifully follows his destiny by leaving Carthage in search of the city where he is to found Rome, but he leaves a trail of undeniable destruction in his wake. Dido may be the true hero of this Book: she does not have the security of the gods' blessing, but she is so passionate about her love for Aeneas that she is willing to sacrifice everything she has, even though she ultimately takes her own life.

Another interesting aspect of Book IV is its frequent reference to Ascanius. Aeneas is distracted from his destiny by the temptation of love, and he is only able to regain his focus when he realizes that he will not only be depriving himself of an empire, but will be denying his son the great future that awaits him on Italian soil. This circumstance recalls the importance placed on family, as has been seen in Aeneas's relationship with Anchises. The multi-generational aspect of the epic reveals the value that Virgil's contemporaries placed on respecting one's ancestors and providing for one's descendants.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *