The Metamorphoses By Ovid

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Ovid’s wrote the Metamorphoses during an important time period in Roman history. Ovid is growing up during the last days of Julius Caesar’s reign and the beginning of Augustus’ new reign as Emperor. This period marked great change, or metamorphosis, in Roman ideology. Although it was not obvious to the average person until many years later, genius’ like Ovid understood the change that Roman society was going through. At this time, Ovid was already a highly successful poet, writing erotic poetry. However, there was a genre Ovid had not yet established his dominance. This genre was epic poetry, dominated by Virgil and his work, the Aeneid. Ovid took this opportunity to write an Epic poem that would rival Virgil’s Aeneid, and explore the theme of metamorphosis, drawing from the Heraclitian paradox that the only thing constant in the universe is change. Ovid weaves together 250 myths and legends from both Greek and Roman history, and tweaks some of them to his purpose, creating interesting twists on the classic stories that are already well-known by everyone. In fact, many of his tweaked versions of the stories became the standard version that are still told today. In the Metamorphoses, Ovid presents women and the gods differently than his contemporary Virgil, reflecting his motives and the society in which he was living in. The gods in Ovid’s Metamorphoses share some similar characteristics with those in the Aeneid, however, most of their characteristics differ greatly. The first character to look at is Jupiter, also known as Jove, God of Heaven and king of the Roman gods. In the Aeneid, Jupiter takes on a much different role than he does in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Jupiter of the Aenied, for example, acts more how you would expect the... ... middle of paper ... ...d stands up to the wrongdoing of Tereus, showing that Ovid believes in a more positive view of women, rather than the negative view portrayed in Virgil’s Aeneid. Ovid’s Metamorphoses reflects how he feels about Roman society. His work represents a shift in Roman culture, a shift in how the citizens view the gods, and a shift in the relationship between men and women. Ovid’s Metamorphoses is an epic poem to say the least. Ovid takes what had already been established by Virgil, and by incorporating the context of the culture he was living in, was able to create a contrasting poem that, in my opinion, is much more enjoyable to read that the Aeneid. Ovid’s ideas contrast Virgil’s, without being disrespectful to his work or lessening the significance of what Virgil accomplished. Ovid simply wanted to write something better. For me, it is easy to say he did exactly that.
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