Discussion to this point has followed closely the unfolding of the stories within each of the epics. In the next two chapters I intend to abandon sequential paraphrase and to pursue an analysis that is based on themes. Why? There are many interpretative paraphrases of the Aeneid (particularly Quinn 1968 and Williams 1980a, 1980b). It would, perhaps, be pointless to repeat labours better done by others. As for the Metamorphoses, it poses a different problem. Ovid's narrative is labyrinthine, yet it is not hard to follow (Glenn 1986 offers an interpretative paraphrase). What is needed is not paraphrase (which easily becomes as labyrinthine as the narrative itself), but to show how Ovid's 250 odd stories encrypt a limited number of themes and concerns.
Love and war-the tension between them has conditioned the afterlife of Virgil's Aeneid. Dido or Aeneas, the lover or the general, they represent the two poles between which 2,000 years of readers have swung. The audience has swung more to Dido than to Aeneas. And if the poem lives it may be because of her: there are, for example, almost one hundred operas based upon her romance with Aeneas (Heinrichs 1991). Even Chaucer told her story-not once, but twice (in The House of Fame and in the Legend of Good Women). Chaucer preferred Dido to Aeneas. Aeneas has had no such privileged post-mortem existence.
Yet war and its resolution have attractions. This (crystallized in the duel between Aeneas and Turnus concluding the epic) has guaranteed the epic a firm place in European sentiment. For hun