This comparison in the simile echoes a similar instance in Book 2, which described Aeneas first reaction to the Greek invasion of Troy. In both of these portrayals, Aeneas was unaware of his surroundings.
Furthermore, in Dido’s comparison with the wounded deer, there is the suggestion that she is not entirely innocent and that she was more responsible for her plight than Aeneas. The queen’s passion and her own desires have led her to her suffering. These made her respond to her feelings not entirely as a rational and sentient person but a wounded animal. With the deer-simile, the reader sees Dido’s transformation from an earlier huntress representation, with her comparison to Diana, to being the hunted – organized for Aeneas enjoyment and amusement. The hunter became Aeneas whose divine appearance and standing inspired a hint of Bacchic frenzy.
The deer-simile functioned in several other ways as well. The simile, for instance, highlighted Didos nature as a lover and by representing temptation and a kind of love that would lull a man to choose the easier and more comfortable path, established how she was reduced to a mere test of Aeneads character, a test that he must face before he could reach Italy. Dido’s role would be relegated to an experience, which was designed to strengthen Aeneas worth as a man. With Dido as the “wounded deer” as illuminated in the previous explanation, Aeneas was presented with a major crisis that he must overcome in order to carry on with his destiny.
Dido and Aeneas with the deer-simile also came to be compared with the tragedy of doomed lover - those caught in the clutches of warring dieties. The hunter and the deer became victims of forces that are beyond their control. Venus and Juno are the main puppeteers in this tragedy, without them the story could have trudged on differently. With the deities’ power and selfish interests: Venus, with her intent in preserving Aeneas line; and, Juno with her hatred for