The Marlowe Society

Marlowe's Works

Marlowe's Works
Dido Woodcut

Dido

Dido, Queen of Carthage

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Quote: Dido, Queen of Carthage, III.4.154-7

Dido:
Kind clouds that sent forth such a courteous storm
As made disdain to fly to fancy's lap!
Stout love, in mine arms make thy Italy,
Whose crown and kingdom rests at thy command.

Dido, Queen of Carthage, III.4.154-7

Dido, Queen of Carthage

Dido, Queen of Carthage

Act III Scene 4

Location: The Cave

Dido and Aeneas 'Chance' Upon One Another During the Storm

Juno's plan is executed exactly as she predicted in III.2: A storm has blown up suddenly during the hunt, and Dido and Aeneas separately 'chance' to find the same cave in which to take shelter. Marlowe is enjoying himself in this scene at his characters' expense. There is an amusing irony when Dido asks how Aeneas found this cave and he replies "By chance, sweet Queen, as Mars and Venus met" (III.4.3). With equal irony, oblivious to the fact that it is the Goddesses' design that has led them both there, Dido replies that "that was in a net, where we are loose" (III.4.4, referring to how Venus' husband entrapped her by laying a fine net on the couch).

Tiptoeing verbally around what she really feels, Dido with protracted awkwardness gradually reveals her feelings for Aeneas. He seems to have no inkling, or perhaps he is just observing etiquette: "Aeneas' thoughts dare not ascend so high / As Dido's heart, which monarchs might not scale" (III.4.32-3). It seems Dido's earlier attempt to disguise her love by introducing a gallery of rejected suitors worked.

Landscape with Dido and Aeneas, Thomas Jones (1769)
Landscape with Dido and Aeneas
Thomas Jones (1769)

Aeneas Vows His Love For Dido

Aeneas responds to Dido's declaration of love in kind, and promises "Never to leave these new-upreared walls / Whiles Dido lives and rules in Juno's town - / Never to like or love any but her!" (III.4.49-50). The "vow" is a significant Marlowe addition, which when subsequently broken emphasizes Aeneas' betrayal; Virgil does not have Aeneas make any promise to the queen. But as Dido observes, this is music to her ears. Her ardent hopes have been fulfilled, as indeed have those of Juno and Venus when the Queen offers Aeneas "this wedding-ring / Wherewith my husband woo'd me yet a maid, / And be thou King of Libya, by my gift" (III.4.61-4). In the best traditions of decorum, the stage direction tells us only that the lovers "Exeunt to the cave."

 
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