The passage itself is situated almost directly after Anna finishes speaking to Dido and is relayed by the narrator. The passage is highly complex as multitudes of competing meanings are occurring. The narrator begins, “Across the city/ She wanders in her frenzy–even as a heedless hind hit by an arrow when a shepherd drives for game.” Here the narrator is comparing Dido to a sheep that has been struck by an arrow. This is significant as one of the major themes of the Aeneid is the force of the god’s on human existence, and by using the arrow as a element of love, Virgil is showing that Dido’s ‘frenzy’ isn’t necessarily of her own doing. Indeed, Juno has conspired to bring Aeneas and Dido together to forestall Aeneas’ journey to Italy, and has made Dido an unknowing volunteer in the ploy.
However, the passage continues, “with darts among the Cretan woods and, unawares, from far leaves the winging steel inside her flesh.” In this regard, one must consider that Aeneas, rather than Juno or Cupid, is the shepherd that has wounded Dido, as Aeneas is the most ‘unaware(s)’ of the lasting effect has had on Dido. In this sense, one must consider a passage from book two when Aeneas is watching the Greek’s ravage Troy and compares himself to a shepherd,
When among standing corn a spark falls with a fierce south wind to fan it, or the impetuous stream of a mountain torrent sweeps the fields, sweeps the joyous crops and the bollocks’ toil, and drives the woods headlong before, in perplexed amazement a shepherd takes in the crash from a rock’s tall summit.
In this regard Aeneas is the shepherd watching the in amazement as nature takes its toll symbolically on the fields – literally Troy. The different positions – Dido as sheep and Aeneas as shepherd – are significant as it demonstrates Aeneas steadfast resistance to outside factors that might hinder his path toward Italy.