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Is it fair to call Aeneid Book 4 "The Tragedy of Dido"?
The suggestion that Book Four of Virgil's Aeneid ought to be called 'the tragedy of Dido' is a controversial one. It is firstly questionable as to whether Book Four fulfils the criteria of a tragedy in the ancient, or the contemporary sense of the word; and secondly if it is indeed a tragedy, whether the consequences are tragic for Dido alone.
Virgil's motives in writing Book Four seem somewhat ambiguous. Throughout Books One to Three he presents Aeneas as the unfaltering protagonist, yet in this book he is verified as somewhat heartless, almost losing sight of his destiny. Classicists…
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