Ovid 's Metamorphoses : A Collection Of Myths

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Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a collection of myths remastered to fit a theme of transformation. In these stories, the characters are confronted with a problem or a situation and how they react determines their fate. These fates take the form of physical alterattions. Often people transform into flora, fauna, or different human forms. In Metamorphoses the metaphors utilized by Ovid involve the natural world. These mataphors are natural for us to understand because nature is a common reference point for us all. While Ovid’s meaning behind the forms he chooses in his transformations seem simple, recognizing why characters are transformed can be confounding. The key to interpreting Ovid’s transformations is in realizing to whom the transformation is directed and this may not always be the one being transformed. The transformations that take place in Metamorphoses symbolize traits in the transformed and the transformer in both positive and negative aspects. Ovid uses transformations to exaggerate the traits of the charater being transformed. In Book III, Narcissus is pursued by hordes of admirers. He is a young man and is exceptionally beautiful. Despite his abundance of suitors, Narcissus prefers to remain single. His rejection obviously upsets his followers, especially one of his male admirers who curses Narcissus in prayer to Nemesis: “May he himself love as I have loved him/ … without obtaining his beloved” (3. 521-522). Nemesis grants his wish and Narcissus falls in love with

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