Dido: Character profile. For OCR Classical Civ Spec

Dido: Flawless to Utter Ruin

Book 1: Flawless

Hospitality and generosity

  • Dido accepts Trojan suppliants, with gracious xenia, treating them as equals

Strong independent woman leader

  • Led the entire untaking of moving her peoples and the ancient treasure to found Carthage


  • Dido compared to Diana in looks, but also in power and organisation of her people pg 17


  • Pious Dido pours libation to gods…yet Gods will ensure her downfall pg 24


  • Dido, like Aeneas is driven by necessity from her home
    • Has experienced suffering too, Pygmalion kills her love, Sychaeus whilst he prays at altar pg 13
  • Dido as sympathetic and empathetic “I too have known ill fortunes”. She says she suffers yet she is learning to help those who suffer pg 21

Not utterly flawless

  • Dido as doomed to be a victim of a plague yet to come. Virgil points towards future tragedy looming pg 23

Book 4: Ruin

“We have seen her in Book 1 as a proud queen, a woman of outstanding abilities and achievements, so that her agony, uncertainty and final despair is far more tragic”

At first, remains loyal to husband

  • “this is the only man who has stirred my feelings” devotion of Dido clear

Previous self-control and majesty shattered

“she would hang on his lips as he told the story”

Fatal flaw

No longer builds Carthage’s walls or train troops pg 71

Sister, Anna

  • Her words convince Dido to fall in love: succumb to true love and good match pg 70

The gods

Is it a comedy of manners between Juno and Venus that engineer her destruction?

Or do these two gods represent Dido’s torn loyalties: to either her dead husband or to marry Aeneas

The plot discovered

  • Dido very wise to scheme of Aeneas’ departure: because of her great love, devotion and anxiety of losing him


Dido claims that Aeneas will get the punishment he deserves in due time pg 80


Dido gets Anna to plead with Aeneas to stay a while so her grief and anguish can soften pg 81


Dido understand that she can’t force her Tyrian bands back out to sea.

Struggling with her duty to the state…should she marry etc pg 84/5


Pg 88…Anna comes back in, aghast at being deceived

Tragic: Dido gives up everything for her personal love

Dido victim of Rome’s destiny



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