Venus, sweet Venus, how may I deserve
Such amorous favours at thy beauteous hand?
But that thou mayst more easily perceive
How highly I prize this amity,
Hark to a motion of eternal league
which I will make in quittance of thy love.
Dido, Queen of Carthage, III.2.64-9
Dido, Queen of Carthage
Location: The Grove Where Ascanius Lies Hidden
Juno Plots Revenge
Juno has found the hidden Ascanius, and contemplates murdering him out of vengeance. There is no source for this speech in the Aeneid, and Marlowe has perhaps added it in order to clarify Juno's purpose. She seeks vengeance against Venus because the latter was chosen by Paris in his judgment to receive the "heavenly ball" rather than Juno. She also plans revenge against her husband Jupiter "and his adulterous child", Ganymede, made cup-bearer at the expense of her daughter Hebe. It is this combined thirst for revenge that has driven her to thwart Aeneas' mission to reach Italy.
The Goddesses' Machiavellian Pact
But Venus has been warned by her doves, and arrives in time to confront her enemy and save her grandson. Venus is angry and hurls insults and threats; Juno is defensive, implausibly claiming she was merely "saving [Ascanius] from snakes' and serpents' stings that would have kill'd him sleeping as he lay" (III.2.38-9). She also claims to have changed her mind over Aeneas. Venus' response may be interpreted as sarcastic, but never the less the two goddesses hit on a ploy that is mutually beneficial. If Aeneas can be lured into returning Dido's love and marrying her, he will stay in Carthage.
Juno will raise another storm when the two mortals are out hunting. Dido and Aeneas shall be trapped in a cave, "and interchangeably discourse their thoughts, whose short conclusion will seal up their hearts" (III.2.93-4). Venus agrees this once to collude with Juno, and takes Ascanius off to another safe location.