Examines the portrayal of Dido, the Phoenician widow of Sychaeus, by Christine de Pizan in her 1405 "Book of the City of Ladies", compared to Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy" and Virgil's "Aeneid."
# 26770 | 2,175 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2002 |
Published on May 18, 2003 in Literature (Greek and Roman) , English (Analysis) , English (Comparison) , Literature (Italian) , Literature (Comparative Literature) , Women Studies (General)
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Christine de Pizan's "Book of the City of Ladies" (1405) was written to counteract the lies and misrepresentations about women's character that the author found in the male dominated world of literature. The paper shows that Pizan's main example was Dido, the Phoenician widow of Sychaeus, who escaped her brother's tyranny by fleeing from Tyre to North Africa. There she founded and ruled over the great city of Carthage. The paper explains how, in her book, Pizan went about rehabilitating Dido's reputation by recounting her great prudence as leader of her people and her constancy in love. It shows how this account of Dido counteracts, in very different ways, the versions of Dido's career in Virgil's "Aeneid" and in Dante's "Divine Comedy" in which she is portrayed as "one of the most vilified women of world literature."
From the Paper:"That is all that is left of the woman who was also famous for outwitting various male leaders and for her successful founding and leadership of a great state. Clearly Dante had a somewhat different way of looking at Dido than Virgil did. For Dante she was merely the embodiment of the female sins of lust (for Aeneas) and infidelity (to the memory of Sychaeus) for which so many famous women seemed to find themselves in the second circle of the Inferno--where more women than are found than in any other circle in Dante's Hell. But in the Aeneid Dido is clearly a woman of considerable power and great accomplishments. She is also clearly seen as worthy of Aeneas and is practically a female version of the hero. She is widowed, forced to flee, founds a new city, and her descendants become a powerful civilization--under the protection of Juno. Aeneas' wife dies at the fall of Troy, he is forced to flee and, eventually, he arrives in Italy to fulfill his destiny and found a great race--under the protection of Venus."
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Dido (2003, May 18) Retrieved October 23, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/dido-26770/
"Dido" 18 May 2003. Web. 23 October. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/dido-26770/>