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Jealousy And Desire In Ovid's Metamorphoses

907 words - 4 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. Clytie, one of the girls whom Phoebus had rejected, is insanely green with envy, and snitches on Phoebus and Leucothoe's affair. The outcome is disheartening; Leucothoe is buried alive, Phoebus is grief-stricken, and Clytie still doesn't get the man she wanted. Everyone loses.


"And as for Clytie, / Love might have been a reason for her sorrow, / And sorrow for telling tales. . . Since she was so used to love, and almost crazy / for lack of it, she pined away" (Ovid 89).


This exemplifies the blinding affect that love can take on people. If Clytie had taken time to think out her actions, she would have seen what the outcome would have been like. If Phoebus didn't want her before he met Leucothoe, why would he want Clytie after she had taken his love away from him? There was not logic in Clytie's actions, only vehement love.


One could argue that the love displayed in the novel is actually not love at all, but pure longing and lust. If the characters really felt love, they would think about the other person and want him or her to be happy. By wanting the person he or she "loves" not to be with anyone else, an act of selfish lust is displayed, and more often than not, this longing makes people obsessively "in love."


In Book Thirteen, we follow the story of Acis and Galatea. Polyphemus believes that he is in love with Galatea, yet does not think of her feelings, but rather assumes that he could make her much happier than Acis ever could. What Polyphemus fails to realize is that she really and truly loves Acis, not Polyphemus. When Polyphemus sees Galatea with Acis, he becomes angry. Galatea flees to the sea, and Acis is crushed with a huge rock....

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