Virgil’s Aeneas and Dido

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26 October 2015

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Love Stories


Virgil’s Aeneas and Dido

            This romantic story has been in existence for decades. It is therefore evident that it is one of the most narrated romantic stories. It is a love story between Dido and Aeneas, a Trojan soldier (Virgil 21). After the shipwreck, Aeneas and his troop had no option but to seek refuge in Carthage, which was ruled by Dido. When Dido spots Aeneas, she immediately falls in love with him, hence, allows his troops to stay in Carthage. Although Dido admires Aeneas, she does not want to fall in love with him. This is because she wishes to remain loyal to her dead husband (Virgil 12). Her sister however convinces her into falling in love with Aeneas. According to Anna, Dido’s sister, falling in love with Aeneas will be beneficial to Carthage since it will become mightier than before (Virgil 51). Although Dido developed the perception that she and Aeneas were married, this was not the case for Aeneas. This is because after a short period of stay in Carthage, Aeneas decided to leave for Italy. Dido tried to prevent him from leaving but this did not bear any fruits since Aeneas was acting in response to the gods that had visited him at night. When Aeneas finally left Carthage, Dido was left in tears to the extent that she opted to end her life.

Strengths and Weakness

            This story can be equated as one of the best stories ever written. This is because it has a number of strengths in it. For instance, Dido portrays real love to her dead husband. According to Virgil (12), Dido had sworn never to fall in love again after the death of her husband. This is enough proof that she was quite loyal. The other aspect of real love that comes out in this story is the manner in which Dido falls for Aeneas. It is because of her love towards Aeneas that makes Dido allow the Trojan soldiers to stay in Carthage. Dido’s love for Aeneas was strong to the extent that she did not want her to leave cartage. It was because of the passion she had for Aeneas that made her decide to end her life the day she realized that Aeneas had left her for Italy. Although this story has a number of strengths, it also has several weaknesses as well. For instance, although Dido was in love with Aeneas, this was not the case for Aeneas. This is because Aeneas did not seem interested in Dido. This brings out the fact that Aeneas took advantage of Dido’s and was never in love with her.

Apuleius’ Cupid and Psyche

            The story is about a romantic relationship that blossomed between Psyche and Cupid, the son of Venus, who was the goddess of love.According to the story, Psyche was quite beautiful to the extent that Venus, the goddess of love, developed hatred for her (Apuleius 39). He asked her son, cupid, to go and stab her. However, cupid was stunned by Psyche’s beauty to the extent that he stabbed himself instead. Cupid immediately falls in love with Psyche and gradually a relationship blossoms between the two. The most interesting thing about this love is that psyche was not allowed to see the man she was in love with. Out of curiosity, Psyche decides to see who his suitor was. When Cupid was fast asleep, Psyche uses the lamp to know the identity of her lover (Apuleius 26). She is surprised to learn that it was Cupid. Cupid is not happy with psyche; hence, he abandons her and goes back to Venus. Psyche is not ready to let her lover go, hence, she goes to Venus and requests to be allowed to see Cupid (Apuleius 39). Venus is not comfortable seeing Cupid with Psyche, hence, she assigns her difficult tasks in a move to get rid of her. To Venus’ surprise, Psyche accomplishes all these tasks. Cupid finally comes to her rescue and transforms her into a goddess; this implied that she was immortal.

Strength and Weakness

            Unlike the previous story, this one tends to have more strength; hence, it stands a chance becoming the best love story ever written. This is because the story brings out the extent that one can go in the name of seeking love. For instance, although Cupid and Psyche were from two different worlds, they were able to finally marry each other and live happily. Similarly, the power of love is seen when Psyche decides to go search for Cupid (Apuleius 39). Although Psyche was aware that Cupid’s mother was never pleased with her, she still went to Venus to Inquire about Cupid’s whereabouts. Psyche’s love for Cupid is also seen when she accomplishes all the difficult tasks she was given by Venus.

            The only weakness about this story is the fact that there are a number of unrealistic aspects in it. For instance, it is quite unrealistic for Cupid, a god, to marry Psyche who was a human being. Additionally, the fact that Psyche was finally transformed into a goddess also brings out the unrealistic aspect of this story. Human beings are mortal; hence, it is not possible for them to be transformed into gods and goddesses, which implies that they cannot become immortal.

Dante’s Paolo and Francesca

            This is a story about Francesca, the daughter to the lord of Ravenna, and Gianciotto, the son to the lord of Rimini. These two cities had continuously been engaged in war. In order to end the continuous conflicts, an agreement be made. The two lords agreed to marry off their children in a move to have a lasting solution to the warfare (Singleton). Since Gianciotto was disabled and ugly, he did not attend the wedding ceremony. Paolo was the youngest brother to Gianciotto. He was picked to represent Gianciotto since he was handsome and good-looking and it was obvious that Francesca would fall in love with him. The plan proceeded well since Francesca did not know the truth until the following morning when she woke up besides Gianciotto (Singleton). Although she is angry, nothing could be done about it since she was already a married woman.

            However, since Francesca had fallen in love with Paolo, a secret relationship blossomed between the two (Singleton). After several years, the secret finally came to light when Gianciotto walked on them while they were behind closed door. This discovery angered Gianciotto to the extent that he decided to kill Paolo. However, when he swung the rapier, Francesca rushed between them and the rapier ended up cutting through Francesca’s bosom before finally slitting through Paolo, hence, killing both of them on the spot (Singleton).

Strength and Weakness

            Although it has a tragic end, it is also one of the best-drafted love stories since there are a number of lessons worth learning from it. Compared to other love stories, this one tends to have more weaknesses than strengths. In the case of strength, through marriage, there was peace between Ravenna and Rimini. This implies that love can cause harmony to dominate in a region that that marred by wrangles.

            The story tends to have more weaknesses compared to strengths. The story is marred with a lot of deception. For instance, during the wedding ceremony, Paolo impersonates Gianciotto since he is more handsome. This implied that not only did they lie to Francesca but also her father who was also the lord of Ravenna. It was because of this deception that the marriage between Francesca and Gianciottowas unstable. For instance, since Francesca had fallen in love with Paolo, this relationship still went on even after the wedding. This implied that Paolo was having an affair with Francesca, who was Gianciotto’s wife. It was because of these deceptions that finally resulted to the tragic death of the two couples.


            Although the three stories are romantic, Apuleius’ Cupid and Psyche is the most romantic love story. This is because unlike the rest that end tragically, it is only Apuleius’ Cupid and Psyche that ends positively. Similarly, it is also the best love story since it has more strengths than weaknesses. In Apuleius’ Cupid and Psyche, Psyche portrays real love since she was willing to go to her extreme in search for her lover.


Apuleius, Joel. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche. Indianna: Hackett Publishing, 2009. Print.

Singleton, Charles. “Romance Stories: Paolo& Francesca as told by Dante.” Wisdom Portal. 1977. Web. 31 October 2014. <>

Virgil &Maclennan, Keith. Virgil: Aeneid Iv. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013. Print.

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StudyScroll. (2015). Virgil’s Aeneas and Dido [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 4 October, 2022]

"Virgil’s Aeneas and Dido" StudyScroll, Oct 26, 2015. Accessed Oct 4, 2022.

"Virgil’s Aeneas and Dido" StudyScroll, Oct 26, 2015.

"Virgil’s Aeneas and Dido" StudyScroll, 26-Oct-2015. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 4-Oct-2022]

StudyScroll. (2015). Virgil’s Aeneas and Dido. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 4-Oct-2022]

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