For ballace, empty Dido's treasury,
Take what ye will, but leave Aeneas here.
Dido, Queen of Carthage, III.1.125-6
Dido, Queen of Carthage
Location: Dido's Court
Dido is Struck by Cupid's Dart
Iarbus is once again pushing his suit, and Dido is diplomatically rejecting his advances. It is the Queen's sister Anna who brings to our attention how "Aeneas' little son plays with your [Dido's] garments and embraceth you" (III.1.20-1). Cupid engineers his way onto Dido's lap using his childish charm, and soon we can see his deed is done when Dido begins behaving erratically towards Iarbus, alternatively demanding he leave and then calling him back.
A perplexed Iarbus finally departs, leaving Dido to confide in Anna her sudden love for Aeneas. The audience learns in an aside that Anna is secretly in love with Iarbus, and thus encourages her sister's new found passion. Dido asks her to bring Aeneas to her, but when he arrives, he is accompanied by his Trojan companions.
Dido Courts Aeneas
Dido tries to conceal her feelings, but continues to behave a little erratically (for example, pretending initially not to notice Aeneas in the group). The queen asks what she might do for Aeneas, who somewhat sheepishly replies that she might help repair his damaged fleet. "Conditionally that thou wilt stay with me, and let Achates sail to Italy," bargains Dido (III.1.113-4).
The Queen blusters that she needs Aeneas to help her "war against her bordering enemies ..., think not Dido is in love" (III.1.134-5). She shows a gallery of her former suitors, whom the Trojans recognise as kings, and says that she rejected all their advances (although Marlowe does not play on her alleged historical faithfulness to her murdered husband). "O happy shall he be whom Dido loves," declares Aeneas, seemingly ready to return the queen's feelings. "It may be thou shalt be my love," teases Dido in reply (III.1.167-9).