A Child’s Compendium of Illustrated Dido Suicides
December 5, 2011 § 8 Comments
Finals week is here and, like it always does, everything is falling apart. My weekend was equal parts awesome and flat-out horrible (more on this later. Though I will say it involved sobbing on the phone while wearing a paper crown in the rain).
Doing “research” for my Medieval Studies papers, I came across a collection of illustrations from the Romance of the Rose. Naturally, I looked for my favorite subject: Queen Dido. Dido, for those of you whose education is not as useless as mine, is the ruler of Carthage who offed herself when her boyfriend Aeneas left to found Rome. Life’s tough. And right now, I so get Dido. I mean, no one’s abandoning me to go marry a Latinine Princess, but the misery part is kind of there. Let’s empathize, shall we?
This one doesn’t get the concept of proportion exceptionally well. Dido’s crown is approximately twice the size of her head, and the sword is a full 2/3 the size of her body. Also, why are those guys just waving their ginormous hands around instead of stopping her?
Another gigundo sword, combined with Dido’s jaunty wave, as if to say, “Hey Reader! Just spearing myself through the kidneys over here!” Also: great hairstyle.
This Dido gets a more reasonably-sized crown, and a nicer dress, despite being cursed with the face of Winston Churchill. She’s also just kind of poking herself in the boob, rather than doing a full-on kabob-ing. I can’t say I blame her; I’d hate to ruin that dress too.
The facial expression. JUST LOOK AT IT. This is the look of a girl who has six more pages on Jean de Meun’s translation of the letters of Abelard and Heloise to write while her car is stuck in Schaumburg. Who are all the randos? I couldn’t say, though I like the baby’s raised eyebrow as if to say, “Seriously, girlfriend? Stabbing yourself over him?“
Another groovy dress, but with more dramatic projectile bleeding. Dido’s face makes it look like she just tripped and fell on the sword and is now yelling “OH SHI-” And again with the passive onlookers. Their eyes are practically glazed over. Were medieval people so jaded that even suicide was a boring spectator sport?
“Comment Dido se tue” indeed. This Dido apparently needed to climb into her childhood Play-Castle and light it on spidery orange fire before enswording herself. Also: neck length.
Again with the hanging. Here we actually get a sense of some narrative drama, what with the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria about to carry Aeneas off to Pride Rock in the background there. But again: that castle is the same height as a full-grown woman? WHO IS BUILDING THESE THINGS
Obviously, there’s a moral here. As Dydo (the medieval version) said herself: “Mal fait amer hom Troyan.” Trojan guys are dicks, no pun intended. As modern women, let’s be glad that the only problems we have are getting our term papers done and finishing our Old French finals and oh God I just spent an hour looking up manuscripts for NO REASON