Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 September 2021
The chapter deals with the absence of Aeneas’ gaze on Dido in Aeneid 1. When the queen makes her way to the temple of Juno, no passage in the narrative informs the reader that the hero has turned his eyes on her. Right away, the lack of any responses to Dido’s first appearance clashes with the expectations of the readers. From Ovid to Valerius Flaccus, from Probus to Pöschl, readers express their dissatisfaction with the hero’s behaviour by filling in the gap left by Virgil, developing a sort of ‘ghost text’, an alternative, virtual Aeneid that ends up overlaying the real one. It is argued in conclusion that Virgil may have left the narrative void in Book 1 on purpose, in order to fill it himself in Book 6, where Aeneas’ gaze and emotions towards Dido, at her last appearance in the poem, are surprisingly highlighted.
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