Marlowe’s Tribute to His Queen in Dido, Queen of Carthage
Caro-Barnes, Jennifer M.
Early English Studies, vol.1 (2007)
Christopher Marlowe’s title character in The Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage addresses the marriage question, as did most Elizabethan literature during this time, but Marlowe’s approach is more praise and less advice. Prior to Cupid’s enchantment, Dido is a queen to be reckoned with; however, this spell causes her to become a dependant, love-struck worshipper of Aeneas and eventually drives her to her death. Using Dido and Aeneas, Marlowe praises Queen Elizabeth’s strength as a monarch by presenting what could have been had she bowed to the pressures of Parliament to marry. Marlowe commends his queen for her eventual choice in a “husband” (meaning her “marriage” to England) by illustrating the consequences of giving in to the pressures of choosing an unworthy mate.