The Plot: Dido, Queen of Carthage

Play video

  • Swan Theatre

    Stratford-upon-Avon

    Until 28 Oct 2017

  • Running time:

    2 hrs 29 mins + 20 mins interval

Next performance:

18 October, 1:30PM

Swan Theatre
Stratford-upon-Avon

Synopsis

A summary of Christopher Marlowe's Dido, Queen of Carthage.

The goddess Venus complains that Jupiter has been neglecting her son Aeneas, who has been lost in a storm on his way to found a new Troy in Italy. Jupiter calms the storm, allowing Aeneas to land safely on the North African coast.

Aeneas meets with other surviving Trojans who have been receiving hospitality from Dido, Queen of Carthage. When Aeneas meets Dido, she agrees to supply his ships and he tells her about the fall of Troy.

A New Love

Dido is attached to Iarbas but Venus sends Cupid to make her fall in love with Aeneas instead, believing this will help keep him safe. Dido rejects Iarbas, which pleases her sister Anna who is in love with him.

Venus and Juno come together to create a storm, forcing Dido and Aeneas into a cave together. There, they declare their feelings for each other and consummate their love.

Meanwhile, preparations are made for the Trojans to depart for Italy. Dido removes the sails from the ships so that they cannot go, although Aeneas denies intending to leave. Dido announces that he will be king of Carthage and they decide to found the new Troy there instead.

Betrayal

Hermes informs Aeneas that he has no choice but to leave as his destiny is in Italy. Aeneas reluctantly agrees and goes to tell Dido. She is horrified and burns everything that reminds her of him. Heartbroken, Dido takes fate into her own hands and, with a single act of protestation, changes the lives of everyone around her.