Dido’s Murder

An analysis of Dido’s Murder in Virgil’ s The Aeneid.

This paper discusses how Virgil intends the reader to understand the apparent suicide of Dido, the lover of Aeneas, the main character in Virgil’s `Aeneid` as infact murder at the hands of Aeneas. It examines how the death of Dido can actually be viewed as a murder, through the account that Virgil gives of Aeneas’ actions and his psychological murder of Dido before she takes her own life and more so by how he portrays the underworld where Dido and Aeneas eventually meet again. It shows how through these theatrics, Virgil wants to demonstrate a lesson to his readers about the value of passion and love.
Virgil allows Aeneas to further indite himself in the matter through the answers he gives to Dido. Aeneas claims that they, Never entered upon the past of marriage, (IV, 468) and informs Dido that he never meant to be deceitful and slip away, (IV, 466), even though his actions support the contrary belief. As if this was not enough for poor Dido’s aching heart to bear, Virgil demonstrates that Aeneas is a cold-blooded killer on and off the battlefield; Aeneas slays Dido’s love by telling her, But now it is the rich Italian land / Apollo tells me I must make for: Italy, / Named by his oracles. There is my love; / There is my country, (IV, 476-479).”