Confessions in the Ovid's Metamorphoses Essay

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Confessions in the Ovid's Metamorphoses 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…show more content…
In Crane's translation, Myrrha labels her non-filial love a "crime" and refers to her desires as "forbidden hopes" (on-line). Her "evil adhor" compels her to stay and pursue this "lawless mating" (Mandelbaum 340). Since Byblis and Myrrha identify their passions as wrongs, they seem well aware of the situation at hand, not merely driven by mad passion. This gives them credibility in their further arguments and rational. Each young girl finds reasons to act on her incestuous passions. Byblis finds Caunus is pleasing and "fair indeed" thus worthy of her love (308). Likewise, Myrrha finds her father deserving of love (339). Byblis looks to the gods and realizes they accept relations like these; momentarily, she uses this as an excuse to carry out her passion (309). Myrrha discusses the "privilege" that animals have in mating with their kin and describes a tribe that allows intermarriage; she reasons that these "loving bonds, so reinforced, make families more fond" (339). Byblis' most self-convincing rationalization is that if Caunus had approached her, she would have accepted; therefore she should approach him, and he will accept (309). Similarly, Myrrha ends her self-spoken struggle wondering if her father would give in if he shared this "frenzy" (340). Both girls state concrete reasons to act, in many ways swaying readers to agree that these passions are
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