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Marlowe's Works

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Dido Woodcut

Dido

Dido, Queen of Carthage

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Quote: Dido, Queen of Carthage, IV.5.27

Nurse:
If there be any heaven in earth, 'tis love.
Dido, Queen of Carthage, IV.5.27

Dido, Queen of Carthage

Dido, Queen of Carthage

Act IV Scene 5

Location: Dido's Court, perhaps Ascanius' Nursery

The Nurse is Struck by Cupid's Dart

Although it has already been reported to Dido in the previous scene that her "nurse is gone with young Ascanius" (IV.4.124), Marlowe now introduces a brief scene (not in the Aeneid) in which we see the Nurse persuading (the boy she believes to be) Ascanius to go with her to her house. Some commentators suggest this possible discrepancy is evidence of the separate authorship of different scenes, but such a minor reversion of the timeline to show reported action happening need not be an oversight1.

The widowed and elderly nurse is somewhat surprised to find herself suddenly thinking of love, and dreaming still of taking another husband despite her eighty years. We know that Ascanius is really Cupid, and although there is nothing explicit in the play text to suggest as much, we must assume that the boy has struck her with one of his darts. We get some flavour of Marlowe's sense of humour in this additional scene, with for example Cupid's aside in response to the eighty year old Nurse's sudden notion that she is perhaps not too old to take a lover or a husband: "A husband, and no teeth!" (IV.5.24).

 
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