Byblis and Myrrha, two of Ovid's impassioned, transgressive heroines, confess incestuous passions. Byblis yearns for her brother, Caunus, and Myrrha lusts for her father, Cinyras. Mandelbaum translates these tales effectively, but sometimes a different translation by Crane brings new meaning to an argument. As Byblis and Myrrha realize the feelings at hand, they weigh the pros and cons of such emotions. Despite the appalling relationships in question, each young girl provides concrete support and speaks in such a way that provokes pity for her plight. Their paths of reasoning coincide, but Byblis starts where Myrrha's ends, and visa versa; Myrrha begins where Byblis' concludes.
The language used by Byblis and Myrrha arouses sympathy. Right away, Byblis exclaims, "What misery is mine!" to draw attention to her suffering (Mandelbaum 308). Later, she discusses her "grief" caused by the "evil fate" that makes Caunus her brother (308-9). Myrrha points out her "misfortune" in having not been born to those tribes that would allow her to fulfill her desires. Instead she is "forlorn- denied the very man for whom [she longs]" (339). In Crane's translation, Myrrha considers herself "most depraved" (on-line). All of these revelations compel readers to feel sorry for the girls in their situations; they seem to be victims of their desires.
Byblis and Myrrha both denounce their passions. After Byblis awakes from dreaming intimately about her brother, she claims she would never want to see this scene in daylight (Mandelbaum 308). Later in her speech, she refers to her incestuous pursuit as a "forbidden course" and to her burning desires as "obscene, foul fires" (309). According to Cran...
... middle of paper ...
...irl's speech draws further pity. Aside from all the similarities, each girl travels a different path in her mind. Readers feel more compassion for Myrrha and less for Byblis based on the paths they have followed. Ironically, Myrrha becomes the one who acts out her desires. As a result, she is metamorphosed into a Myrrh tree; in this form she will not contaminate the dead or the living with her foul actions. Regardless of Byblis' drive to build a relationship with her brother, she is denied the passion she seeks. She grieves over her loss profusely, so she becomes a fountain, never-ending in its flow.
Mandelbaum, Allen, trans. The Metamorphoses of Ovid. By Ovid. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & company, 1993.
Crane, Gregory, ed. Perseus Project. 1995. Tufts University. 6 Oct. 1999 http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/text?lookup=ov.+met.+init>
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- While Ovid’s female characters become physically and mentally enslaved in Metamorphosis, I will be arguing that a female reader of Ovid’s epic poem can empathise with her female counterparts, as she is frequently confronted with disturbing and problematic circumstances within Ovid’s text. The idea of entrapment therefore can be extended from character to reader. Whether reading the Metamorphoses for pleasure or for academic purposes , it can be argued that a modern female reader will in some way feel challenged by the themes Ovid presents to her – scenes of rape, male dominance and frequent victimisation of female characters.... [tags: Ovid, Metamorphoses]
836 words (2.4 pages)
- The Concept of Love in Ovid's Metamorphoses In Ovid's Metamorphoses, the concept of love seems to vary from character to character. In one case, a god in the form of a man desperately seeks a particular woman and refuses to relent until he has her. In another instance, a female goddess cares deeply for a man and goes to great lengths to protect him from danger. In yet another case, both who are arranged to be married seem indifferent about the matter. This anti-epic certainly does not follow the adventurous theme of the epic.... [tags: Ovid Metamorphoses Essays]
409 words (1.2 pages)
- Jealousy and Desire in Ovid's Metamorphoses Passionate lust is a blinding force. When jealousy and desire control actions, the outcome is never what it is envisioned to be. Ovid's Metamorphoses provides an clear example of love turned terribly wrong. Throughout the novel, overwhelming desire controls actions and emotions, leaving behind sadness and grief wherever it strikes. With this kind of love, nobody gets what he or she wants in the end. The first strong example of unsatisfactory endings can be found in Book Four, in the story of "The Sun-god and Leucothoe." Phoebus has a strong desire for Leucothoe, and the two begin a fiery affair.... [tags: Ovid Metamorphoses Essays]
821 words (2.3 pages)
- Ovid's Devaluation of Sympathy in Metamorphoses Ovid reveals two similar tales of incest in the Metamorphoses. First, he describes the non-sisterly love Byblis acquires for her twin brother Caunus. Later, he revisits the incestuous love theme with the story of Myrrha who develops a non-filial love for her father, Cinyras. The two accounts hold many similarities and elicit varying reactions. Ovid constantly tugs at our emotions and draws forth alternating feelings of pity and disgust for the matters at hand.... [tags: Ovid Metamorphoses Essays]
1789 words (5.1 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Ovid Metamorphoses Essays]
761 words (2.2 pages)
- Analyzing Love in Ovid's Metamorphoses There are many differences in the behavior of the lover and the rapist characters of the Metamorphoses. " The standard markers of a love relationship include the initial 'love at first sight' scene, often followed by a personal elegy of the loved one's heightened qualities." (Chen) When one falls in love, everything about that person is wonderful and beautiful, including their inner being as well. The admirer uses frequent and excessive metaphors and compliments to describe the favorite: " He looks at Daphne's hair as,unadorned, it hangs down her fair neck, and says: "Just think,if she should comb her locks!" He sees her lips and never tries of them;... [tags: Ovid Metamorphoses Essays]
429 words (1.2 pages)
- The Distinct Epic Format of Ovid's Metamorphoses Ovid's "Metamorphoses" is sometimes argued as a non-epic as well as a true epic. It is mainly viewed as a non-epic because Ovid's subject matter is far from the heroic themes of the "Illiad", "Odyssey", and the "Aeneid" (Keith 237). Ovid was different and was motivated to push the epic beyond its previous boundaries (Ovid). Perhaps in hopes to confirm the structure of his work, Ovid declares that he will undertake "one continuous song in many thousands of verses" (Keith 238-239).... [tags: Ovid Metamorphoses Essays]
489 words (1.4 pages)
- Tracing Changes in Pythagoras' Speech in Ovid's Metamorphoses Change in Ovid, as well as in life, seems to be the only constant. Change is the subject of the Metamorphoses and Ovid's purpose in recounting myths is established from the very beginning: "My intention is to tell of bodies changed to different forms... with a poem that runs from the world's beginning to our own days" (1.1-4). From this foundation, Ovid launches into his stories, using metamorphosis more as a vehicle for telling his stories than as an actual subject matter. Although he retells religious myths, Ovid is not writing a religious manuscript. Rather, the product is a work of literature. Ovid is conscious tha... [tags: Ovid Metamorphoses Essays]
1389 words (4 pages)
- Ovid's Metamorphoses: An Example of Chaos Versus Order Ovid's Metamorphoses is an example of chaos versus order. I think that is what makes it hard to follow. There is just so much chaos moving from one book to another with barely a transition. I think what the anti-epic is trying to show is that everyone has flaws. In the beginning of time a flood changed the earth. The earth was made pure and two by two it began to prosper and grow again. This was chaos followed by order. The poem continues with Cupid being angry with Apollo and shooting him with his arrow.... [tags: Ovid Metamorphoses Essays]
1581 words (4.5 pages)
- Ovid's story of Erysichthon is told in the epic Metamorphoses at lines 738-878 in book 8. Erysichthon was a man who is guilty of a sacrilege involving the sacred grove of the goddess Ceres. The goddess punishes him by casting the dreadful Famine upon him, where she would hide and consume Erysichthon with a voracious hunger. This punishment for cutting down the sacred oak of Ceres is severe indeed, bringing misfortune not only to him, but upon his whole country. He even resorts to selling his own daughter for money to feed himself as a result of his ravenous desire for food.... [tags: Ovid]
1535 words (4.4 pages)
- Essay on John Milton’s Paradise Lost - Defense for the Allegory of Sin and Death
- Sympathy in Medea, Aeneid, Metamorphoses, Orlando Furioso, and Hamlet
- Ovid's Devaluation of Sympathy in Metamorphoses
- Merchant of Venice: The Effects of Cross-Dressing
- Shakespeare's Macbeth and Euripedes' Medea
- Essay on Pointing the Finger in John Milton’s Paradise Lost