Love in the Aenead and the Inferno

A comparison of the loves in Vergil’s Aenead and Dante’s “The Inferno”.

The paper shows that in the loves of Vergil’s Aenead (between Aeneas and Dido) and Dante’s “The Inferno” (between Paulo and Francesca) a reader can learn a lot about the cultures in which the two oft compared authors told their tales. The paper shows that in the case of the “Aenead”, Aeneas must leave Dido to fulfill his destiny and return the legacy of his land to his heirs. In the “Inferno”, Paulo and Francesca are murdered by Gianni (Francesca’s new husband) because they continue their affair even after Francesca has been tricked into marrying Gianni. The paper discusses how, in the Inferno the lovers are compelled by the story of another unrequited love of yore, that of Lancelot and Gwenevere.
Dante made clear through the heartfelt voice of Francesca that his sympathies lay with the lovers and with the idea of their personal choice, yet in the end it is no matter because duty to family and the law of the covenant of marriage outweigh personal choice. Though at this time marriage is not yet a sacrament, the duty to the family, property and station one fulfills for family through marriage is of paramount importance to that of personal choice or even eternally enduring love.