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Gender Interactions In The Aeneid By Virgil

704 words - 3 pages

Though easier to consider The Aeneid as a work which clearly defines the roles of man and woman, with men upholding traits of stability, rationality, and containment of oneself, with the women acting irrational and without jurisdiction, this is not quite the case. Gender is not quite the cookie cutter structure one is accustomed to, instead it acts as a much more complicated force within the interactions of the characters. The masculine and feminine become combined within individuals, blended to the point where perhaps sometimes understanding a character is far more complicated than knowing whether it is a 'he' or 'she'.
Virgil connects femininity with hysterical passion and masculinity an accomplished restraint of self. Due to this, women are often the conflict makers and men the solvers. However, this flat assumption does not work for these characters, as they are far more complicated than mere terms. They are fluid people who are influenced by the workings of Virgil ...view middle of the document...

There is an immediate clash between the feminity of natural order and a male presence of the East and West winds, taken to task by Neptune. However Neptune is not simple, he has sensed the patterns of Juno in the storm and it is she who has put Aelous up to this act of aggression against the Trojans and trespass upon Neptune’s realm. The most important aspect in the deal for Aeolus was the offer of marriage to Deiopea, a sea-nymph, and so from the beginning of the Aeneid the antithesis between man and woman is not entirely that women cause trouble and men sort out the resulting mess, rather that men can be compelled to act chaotically because of the power that women can hold over them. Specifically, through the method of desire. Although women cannot be eradicated of all blame for causing conflict, it acts a reminder that they are not the sole bearers of it. It sets up an example for the inherent sinfulness of desire, an exclusively female power which acts both destructive and evil.
Creusa, his life, is the first woman in Aeneas' tale. She is a character who may initially seem a rather weak person, she spends most of time in a state of fear before failing to keep up with Aeneas and dying ambiguously yet she can hardly be labeled as a mischievous woman. One of her first actions is to beg Aeneas not go into the battle yet again, or if he does then to take an Iulus along with him. This is not an actual request but a clever metaphor for suggesting that Aeneas in abandoning his family for battle and he may as well take his defenseless wife and child with him since to leave them amidst the conflict would be equivalent to putting them directly into danger. Creusa then reminds Aeneas his responsibilities to his family, reminding him that he is no longer a single warrior but is now a father and husband as well. Aeneus knows that fighting is useless and escape is the only viable option so his wish to back into a losing battle is completely worthless. Nonetheless it is hard to see whether Aeneas would have listened to his wife no matter how practical they may have been since right after she has finished speaking, omens from Jupiter inspire Anchises to abandon the city along with his son and grandson and it is this event which initiates their escape, not Creusa.

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