They can be divided into six sections. Cephalus, before returning to Athens with the promised army, tells the story of how his own jealousy of his wife led him to test her unfairly and almost destroyed his marriage, and then explains how a foolish misunderstanding by his wife led him to accidentally kill her while hunting in the forest. the fleece from the serpent, and tells several stories about the Aeneas seeks to establish his own land and defeats Turnus in battle. After the war, the Trojan prince Aeneas escapes and travels through the Mediterranean to Carthage, where Queen Dido falls in love with him, and then kills herself when he abandons her. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Plot Summary of “Metamorphoses” by Ovid. The Metamorphoses consists of fifteen In the fourth section, Ovid moves into the realm of heroes Tiresias also predicts the death of Pentheus, whose refusal to properly worship Bacchus is punished by his being torn apart by his sisters and mother when they are in the throes of the Bacchic rites. Iphis, however, falls in love with a girl, and the gods intercede, changing “him” into an actual boy. The story is then told of how Byblis confesses an incestuous passion for her twin brother Caunus, who flees upon hearing of it. Meanwhile, Daedalus plots to escape Crete with his son Icarus by flying on wings made of feathers and wax. The narrator also tells the story of the Myrmidons’ When he agrees with Jove, saying that he believes that women get more pleasure out of acts of love, Juno blinds him, but, as recompense, Jove gives him the gift of prophecy. Lesson Summary. Metamorphoses is a Latin narrative poem by Ovid that was first published in 8 AD. Jove and Juno argue about whether men or women take more pleasure from love, and call on Tiresias (who has been both a man and a woman) to settle the argument. He then turns the Titan Atlas into stone, and saves Andromeda from a monstrous sacrifice before marrying her (despite her previous engagement). Jove sends Mercury to kill Argus, Io’s guard, and Io is forced to flee Juno’s wrath until Jove forces Juno to pardon her. Orpheus is given a chance to visit the underworld and restore her to life, and although he manages to soften the hearts of Pluto and Proserpina with his music, he cannot resist looking back for his beloved and she is lost to him forever. Medea flees to escape punishment but, when she returns to Jason, she discovers that he has a new wife, Glauce. Some, especially women like Arachne and Niobe, actively challenge the gods and goddesses to defend their prowess, while others display hubris in ignoring their own mortality. In Book I, Apollo attempts to rape Cadmus himself, the founder of Thebes and Pentheus’ grandfather, is only saved by his transformation into a snake, along with his wife. The narrator recounts the exploits of Jason, who stole When Tereus finds out, he tries to kill the women, but they turn into birds as he pursues them. It has remained one of the most popular works of mythology, and was perhaps the classical work best known to medieval writers and strongly influenced medieval and Renaissance poetry. This section ends with a song contest between the Muses and Pierides First, the narrator prays to the gods for inspiration, lays out his theme (metamorphosis), and states his intention to write a single continuous poem that stretches from the origins of the world to his own day. Philomela resists the rape, but Tereus prevails and cuts out her tongue to keep her from accusing him. Phaeton’s sisters are so distraught, they are transformed into trees, and his friend Cycnus, who repeatedly dived into the river in an attempt to retrieve Phaeton’s body, is transformed into a swan in his grief. Adonis must therefore ever after avoid lions and beasts like them, but he was finally killed while hunting a boar, and Venus turned his body in an anemone. and the preaching of Pythagoras, who speaks against consuming flesh In Book III, and a weaving contest between Minerva and Arachne. stretches from the origins of the world to his own day. books. the narrator tells several stories connected to Cadmus’s founding Io, a daughter of the river god Inachus, is raped by Jove, who then transforms Io into a cow to protect her from the jealous Juno. After further adventures, Aeneas and his men finally arrive at the kingdom of Latinus (Italy), where Aeneas wins a new bride, Lavinia, and a new kingdom. Metamorphoses is a Latin narrative poem by Ovid that was first published in 8 AD. and in-depth analyses of In Book II, the narrator recounts the story of Phaethon’s Our study guide has summaries, insightful analyses, and everything else you need to understand Metamorphoses. of his work. Athens, and his siege of the city of Alcathous, where Scylla falls he chokes to death. It is notable that the other Roman gods are repeatedly perplexed, humiliated and made ridiculous by fate and by Cupid in the stories, particularly Apollo, the god of pure reason, who is often confounded by irrational love. See a complete list of the characters in Several tenuously connected short stories follow, including the stories of how Medusa’s progeny, the winged horse Pegasus, created a fountain with a stomp of his foot, how King Pyreneus tried to capture the Muses, how nine sisters who challenged the Muses to a singing contest were turned to birds when they lost, and how Arachne was transformed into a spider after beating Minerva in a contest of spinning. the narrator describes the creation of the world. A few shorter tales follow, about how the Raven became black due to the evils of gossip, how Ocyrhoe the prophetess is transformed into stone, and how Mercury turns a shepherd into stone for betraying a secret. “Metamorphoses” is often called a mock-epic, as it is written in dactylic hexameter (the form of the great epic poems of the ancient tradition, such as “The Iliad”, “The Odyssey” and “The Aeneid”), unlike Ovid‘s other works. Our study guide has summaries, insightful analyses, and everything else you need to understand Metamorphoses. Jove falls in love with the princess Europa and carries her off, disguised as a beautiful white bull. Ovid‘s representations of love and its power to damage lives and societies may be seen as support for Augustus’ reforms, although the constant suggestion of the futility of controlling erotic impulses may also be seen as a criticism of Augustus’ attempt to regulate love. Betrayal was also one of the most harshly punished of Roman crimes under Augustus, and it is no coincidence there are many instances of betrayal in the stories in the poem. rescue of and marriage to Andromeda, and his battle with Phineus. prays to the gods for inspiration, lays out his theme (metamorphosis), Minos requires Athens to send an Athenian youth every nine years as a sacrifice for the Minotaur, but, when Theseus is chosen as the third such tribute, he is saved by the love of princess Ariadne, who aids him through the labyrinth. Thus, although the gods may have a longer term view of Fate, it still exerts a force on them as well. When he dies, his wife Egeria is so mournful that Diana transforms her into a fountain. Metamorphoses – Ovid | Epic Poem Summary | Ancient Rome – Classical Literature, Introduction – When was Metamorphoses written, Jove and Juno argue about whether men or women take more pleasure from love, and call on, Acrisius of Argos also objects to the divinity of. He writes about the death of Actaeon and Semele, the Jupiter rapes Io, Callisto, and his mother’s hand. However, Jove has blessed their ruler, King Aeacus, with the creation of a new race of people, and he promises that these men will serve Aegeus bravely and well. In Althaea, his mother, then kills Meleager and then herself, and Meleager’s sisters are so distraught that Diana turns them into birds. In the sixth section, which comprises the Europa. Acrisius of Argos also objects to the divinity of Bacchus, as well as denying the divinity of Perseus, and in revenge Perseus uses the head of the snake-haired Gorgon Medusa to fill Acrisius’ land with serpents born from drops of her blood. Book XII, the narrator recounts Achilles’ battle with Cycnus, whom Jason arrives at the land of King Aeetes on his quest to obtain the Golden Fleece for King Pelias of Iolcus, and Aeetes’ daughter Medea falls in love with Jason and aids him in his task. Philomela, however, still manages to inform her sister and, in revenge for the rape, Procne kills her own son with Tereus, cooks his body, and feeds it to Tereus. Revenge is also a common theme, and it is often the motivation for whatever transformation the stories are explaining, as the gods avenge themselves and change mortals into birds or beasts to prove their own superiority. Ovid, like most Romans of his time, embraced the idea that people cannot escape their destiny, but he is also quick to point out that fate is a concept which both supports and undermines the power of the gods. During the reign of Augustus, the Roman emperor during Ovid’s time, major attempts were made to regulate morality by creating legal and illegal forms of love, by encouraging marriage and legitimate heirs, and by punishing adultery with exile from Rome. Apollo, Orpheus sings in Books X and After his adventures in Crete, Theseus and some other brave Greeks go to fight the Calydonian boar which was sent by Diana to punish the king of Calydon for neglecting her tribute.