Theme of Revenge in Metamorphoses
Revenge is a recurring theme in the book Metamorphoses. It is usually the cause of whatever transformation the stories are explaining. The gods are always avenging themselves and changing mortals into animals or plants so that they can prove their own superiority.
The first instance of a revenge transformation is when Jove turns Lycaon into a wolf. Lycaon met Jove in a mortal form but didn't believe that he was actually a god. Lycaon tried to kill Jove while he was sleeping. After that he boiled human flesh and tried to feed it to Jove. This is the reason for Jove's revenge and Lycaon's transformation.
Io was a young girl who Jove raped, and Juno had suspected this. Jove turned Io into a cow in the hope that Juno would not find out about the rape. Despite this transformation, Juno still thought that the cow was a girl. She asked Jove if she could have the cow, and he agreed, believing it would allay Juno's suspicions. Juno gave Io to Argus, to watch, because she was still skeptical of the cow's true identity. Because Argus protected Io, Jove could not get back to her. He sent Mercury to kill Argus. The murder of Argus convinced Juno that the cow was really Io. The jealous Juno drove Io mad. Io, in return, prayed to Jove to be turned back into a nymph. Finally Juno was satisfied with torturing Io and allowed the nymph to assume her true form.
Another example of revenge is when Mercury stole Apollo's cattle. The only person who saw the crime was a man named Battus. Mercury bribed the man with one of the cows so that he would not reveal what he knew. Mercury then tested Battus' word by changing his form and voice, and then going ba...
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...evenge involving Hercules was when Juno bribed the goddess of childbirth to prevent Alcmena from delivering her baby, Hercules. Juno was jealous because Jove was the baby's father, and she wanted to make it as difficult as possible for Alcmena. The birth goddess crossed her legs, preventing the delivery of the child. Alcmena's servant, Galanthis, tricked the birth goddess into standing and Alcmena delivered the child safely. As punishment for the servant's deception, the birth goddess turned Galanthis into a weasel.
There are many examples of transformation and revenge in Ovid's book Metamorphoses. Revenge brings about transformation, whether the people are turned into animals, plants, monsters, constellations, or fish. All of the instances of revenge in Metamorphoses are important, and they play an important role in telling the story.
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