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Ovid's Metamorphoses Essay

1291 words - 5 pages

Change is inevitable in life, whether it’s for good or bad. Ovid makes us reflect about something as basic as change, which can alter dramatically our lives, as we know them. According to Lively’s context for Ovid, Ovid in each of his literary career effectively transformed the world of elegy, playfully modeling each and every character along with its personality. He began a new approach of work in which he would change characters into new shapes, a feature of his approach to poetry that would reappear in his most important piece of work, Metamorphoses (3). Ovid’s works of art are all written in Latin, making their translation hard to comprehend when trying to understand the meaning of his stories. Most of the motifs in Ovid’s metamorphoses are juxtapositions such as good and bad, and caring and selfish. Throughout the entire piece of work, we are able to see how Ovid pokes fun at love affairs of gods, enjoyment of personal pleasure and transitory nature of life which leads into the beginning of the story; the creation. Ovid characterizes gods as foolish creatures that are as immoral as they are irrational; gods who have no credit for anything in particular; but for their own unwitty arrangements.
Ovid’s artwork is very intriguing for various reasons; one of them being that he calls on gods for inspiration rather than muses. By calling on the entire god’s at the same time, he doesn’t leave much room for credit to any particular one. Lively states that “it is the gods, who are given the credit or perhaps the blame, for inspiring Ovid… The gods are directly responsible for inflicting numerous metamorphoses upon their mortal victims… occasionally as a punishment, but most often through anger, jealousy or lust” (10). Also, since Ovid wrote these books in Latin there is a lot of poetic style in his work such as, “Air overhangs them, heavier than fire by as much as water’s weight is lighter than Earth” (Kline 1: 52-88).
In the first book of creation, the narrator prays to the gods for inspiration, he lays out his theme, which is metamorphosis, and later on he states his intention to write a single continuous poem that will stretch from the origins of the world to his own day. Men were created from the divine seed. It was molded from earth and rainwater to give it a similar to that of the gods, thus men populated the earth. The first race was the golden age. They practiced spontaneous justice and lived without a recognized government and fed each other with the fruits that the field gave alone; they were not farmers, but they ate wild fruits. The second age, The Silver Age, was worse than gold but, better than the reddish bronze. Jupiter divided the year into four seasons. And for the first time men sought refuge in the caves. Ruthlessness men that lead to violent clashes between them characterized the Bronze Age. The last to appear was the Iron Age, with men predisposed to betrayal, deception, and sailors who sailed the seas. Later men of the...

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