Date on Senior Honors Thesis


Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

College of Arts and Sciences

Author's Keywords

Aeneid; Dido; Empathy; Virgil; Emotion; Latin


This project investigates the relationships between gender, emotion, and madness in a range of pre-modern literary texts. It is evident that extreme emotion is gendered female in early literature. Moreover, violence against women—even sexual violence—is nearly ubiquitous in this literature as well. Associating the female with motive shows that such depictions have contributed to misogynist or masculinist viewpoints. However, this project will instead investigate the role of readers’ emotional responses, from identification to sympathy and even empathy, that such writing might hope to produce in readers. That is, these texts, in their depictions of female characters suffering extreme distress, might provoke audiences to feel pity. This will be done specifically by focusing on the character of Queen Dido.