Essay 5The distinct similarities between Virgil’s Dido and Plutarch’s Cleopatra emphasize the notion of both female volatility and fitfulness, and the detrimental consequences that uncontrolled passion and love can have on people’s judgment and their ability to fulfill their civil and familial duties and obligations successfully. Both women were powerful Egyptian Queens that posed a threat to the wellbeing of the Roman State through their influence over powerful Roman men. Both women are also depicted as allowing their love and infatuation with their respective Roman lovers to distract them from their civic responsibilities and obligations as leaders. Dido paused the Construction of Carthage after Aeneas’ arrival, and Cleopatra made it possible for Rome to gain control over Egypt after her death. After the departure (or death in Cleopatra’s case) of their respective lovers, both women are driven to suicide, overcome by the pain of love lost and diminished future possibilities. The difference between them lay in the fate of their lovers.
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