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Durham e-Theses
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The role of female characters in Vergil’s Aeneid

Akinluyi, Emmanuel Olusegun (1965) The role of female characters in Vergil’s Aeneid. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The purpose of this investigation is to assess the contribution of the main female characters to the spirit and significance of the Aeneid and finally to see whether in the light of the 'narrationes et interpretationes' a general pattern emerges from which we can decide what the poet wants us to understand as their main and collective role. We have found it necessary not only to discuss some points of grammatical interest which seem to throw some light on the interpretation of some doubtful passages, but also to make some apparent digressions to discuss the attributes of some male characters (i.e. the 'pietas' of Aeneas and Latinus, and the 'violentia' of Turnus) to whom the females react. Our facts and statistics show that 'furor' and its related words constitute the major flaw and the major role of the main female characters, which contrasts with and spotlights Aeneas' 'pietas'. But there is nothing particularly 'impius' about Camilla who has enough virtue to make her a sympathetic character; this is part of Vergil's tragic art. Moreover the only female deity on the right side is Venus, but within the framework of the furor-motif she does not count any more than Creusa and Lavinia who are kwøa Ttpōrwtta. In the overall consideration what Vergil seems to be teaching in his treatment of the main female characters is the conflict between the present and the future, i.e. that the inability to see beyond immediate self-interest is the dramatic flaw which unfits characters to be instruments in carrying out fata deum. It certainly unfits Dido, Amata, Camilla, Turnus and Euryalus. Vergil is not, however, being unfair to them, for his delineation reflects his understanding of human nature, the influence on him of Hellenistic poetry, and the increasing role of women in contemporary Rome.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1965
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:16

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