Gender and Sexuality in Lavinia and The Aeneid, Literary Essay Sample

Published: 2022-04-11
Gender and Sexuality in Lavinia and The Aeneid, Literary Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Gender Literature Human sexuality
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1290 words
11 min read

Gender and sexuality can be understood correctly through both works, Lavinia and The Aeneid. Both crafts seek to extend our knowledge of the human society as well as the individual relationships in the community. It should be noted that gender entails a multifaceted integration of behaviors, characteristics, and beliefs. In that, it is highly based on the ways through which we behave, act and even communicate either as a man or a woman. Every single individual has gender, sex as well as gender identity that are considered to be categorized from our sexuality hence drawing the description of who we are in various attributes and personalities. Hence, Le Guin's writing in "Lavinia" seeks to present her interest in discussing the issue of gender norms. In that, through his reading, he can illustrate his changing attitudes towards feminist concepts. Notably, it is important to record that "Lavinia" draws some of its inspiration or contents from the "Aeneid" which is composed by Vergil (Guin 9). The Aeneid provides detailed attention to women through a representation of various characters which have influences in the discussion of gender and feminism. This work will seek to extend our knowledge on the evolving feminism opinions as expressed by both Lavinia and The Aeneid. Therefore, both works has some differences that depicts the struggles of women as well as exhibiting various forms of feminist views both nonfictional and fictional which also exemplifies the various changes of mind.

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Subsequently, Lavinia is set under the lens of Virgil's Aeneid, which is a brilliant text in its own right. This implies that Lavinia is a fantasy that is developed on made-up events yet they present real stories. Notably, its writers inscribe with intricacy and clarity that extends the suspension of disbelief natural. On the other hand, Le Guin's antique Latium is astonishing as is Virgil's, although the roles are rooted, real, and ordinary. Both works represent the role of women. What makes these texts stand out on the topic of gender and feminism is the assimilation of thoughts in a work of fantasy as well as some degrees of historical fiction. Nonetheless, both work has a lot in common since the two writers' encountered significant shifts in their views about feminism and gender when the two works were composed. Therefore, it is evident that both novels have strived to present value on the characters and attitudes that are intrinsically linked with femininity with the intent of observing identity differences. Moreover, it seeks to provide an alteration on the hierarchical elucidation of those dissimilarities. The differences in both books emphasizes on the importance of the feminine by undermining the patriarchal culture. As a result, they both present criticism since the idea of feminism has provided women with an opportunity to unleash their detestation and rage to men.

Le Guin's through her reading, "Lavinia", provides an extensive interpretation of the aspect of feminist awakening although there are elements of changes seen in her writing. In that, Le Guin offers a trajectory of some of her previous work. She applies both radical essentialist feminism and liberal feminism. This is achieved through the act of respecting femininity, disparaging masculine views and maintaining essentialism in certain places (Guin 56). Comparing Lavinia to Vergil's novel, it is evident that the reaction over the course of Le Guin's presenting feminist changes of mind and she goes a step further to provide intuitions into the manners in which Le Guin's understanding of feminism has grown during the Lavinia publication. Thus, Lavinia has presented more discussions on the aspect of the social development of gender. Therefore, she develops characters whereby femininity can be respected and treasured as depicted by radical-cultural feminism that negatively supports more sexist characters hence obscuring her own project by avoiding simple responses (Guin 84). Primarily, the portrayal of gender in Lavinia tends to resist anger and illustrates a protagonist dispassionate in resistance, and as a result, it provides a depiction of feminism that reserves the status quo.

Consequently, in the first chapters of Aeneid, Virgil develops various characters that play a critical role as well as influencing Aeneas's journey. Necessarily, this entails not only worldly women and men, but also Gods and Goddesses. In the entire set up of the novel, Aeneid, Virgil appears to be addressing political matters through the character's actions. Among all the figures developed in this plot, the female characters are always depicted negatively. For instance, they are seen acting emotionally and in a manner that is not in line with their knowledge. This is a clear reflection that the women's engagement in politics may result in adverse effects. Virgil seeks to portray women's negative influence on politics by probing their disparaging features such as impulsive behaviors, absurdity and egocentric desires that continuously trigger their actions (78). Evidently, one of the female figures used to illustrate the political problem is Dido. Afore, the advent of Aeneas, Dido is seen as a powerful and assertive leader. Even after losing her husband, she stabilizes her own city of Carthage and expands on the security to safeguard the city with her brainpower hence showing her ability to lead the city by herself (Virgil 143). Conversely, after the arrival of Aeneas, Dido is entangled between the pains and press. Aeneas is a reflection of women in power, and the author seeks to categorize these women as unreasonable, emotional, and ultimately weak to be rulers.

Nevertheless, Le Guin addresses the significance of femininity by matching Lavinia with Camilla, who is presented as the woman fighter in the Aeneid (44). Still, on that line, Lavinia seems to examine Camilla with Vergil's specter, "I liked her" (47). However, he reevaluates his opinion while chatting with Lavinia and he is heard saying that, "you are worth ten Camillas. And I never saw it" (65). This means that Camilla is violent, powerful and represents a stereotypically masculine character while Lavinia, on the other hand, personifies more feminine features. As a result, Le Guin writes to Vergil to have him reevaluate his perception of women. In that, he needs to change his notion that strong female characters have to be aggressive or physically powerful so that they can be respected. Notably, the implications of these differences depicts the probability of complacency in feminism. Therefore, Lavinia's attitude to gender develops a minor character from the "Aeneid" which ultimately modifies the perception of men and women within the context of a friendlier patriarchy despite the critique of the masculine views.

To sum up, Lavinia tries to imply that men are inferior to females due to their sex; in that, men do not experience menopause. Therefore, they do not have the potential of applying the wisdom of change like the way women do. However, Le Guin argues that there is the concept of essentialism. This means that feminist circles believe in the composite view that there are some characteristics essential to women and shared with women only and not men. Nevertheless, the essentialism in Lavinia tends to devalue men despite their bodies experiencing significant body changes, for example, the growth of pubic hair. Therefore, it is evident that Le Guin makes an effort to add to the Aeneid so that she can present detailed information about the marginalized characters such as the gender and feminism issue. She creates characters who represent stereotypically feminine behaviors, illuminating many of those behaviors to be positive. Nonetheless, she negatively presents characters such as Amata as she scrutinizes views through her version of Vergil. In the end, Lavinia displays Le Guin integrating radical and open-minded essentialist feminism with an objective of reconciling hierarchical opinions about gender gently as opposed to an annoying way.

Works Cited

Le, Guin U. K. Lavinia. London: Phoenix, 2010, pp. 1-295.

Virgil. The Aeneid of Virgil. Toronto; New York: Bantam Books, 1981, pp. 1-468.

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