Transformations In Ovid Essay Research Paper Transformations

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Transformations In Ovid Essay, Research Paper Transformations in Ovid Transformations from one shape or form into another are the central theme in Ovid s Metamorphoses. The popularity and timelessness of this work stems from the manner of story telling. Ovid takes stories relevant to his culture and time period, and weaves them together into one work with a connecting theme of transformation throughout. The thread of humor that runs through Metamorphoses is consistent with the satire and commentary of the work. The theme is presented in the opening lines of Metamorphoses, where the poet invokes the gods, who are responsible for the changes, to look favorably on his efforts to compose. The changes are of many kinds: from human to animal, animal to human, thing to human, human

to thing. Some changes are reversed: human to animal to human. Sometimes the transformations are partial, and physical features and personal qualities of the earlier being are preserved in mutated form. In the story of Daphne and Apollo, the chief agent of transformation is love, represented by Venus and her youthful and mischievous son, Cupid. When the god Apollo brags to Cupid of his great might exemplified by his defeat of the python, Cupid humbles him by reducing the great god to a shameless lover with his gold-tipped arrow of love. A transformation of sorts takes place when the Cupid s arrow strikes Apollo. Apollo transforms from a bragging God who claims superiority over Cupid by saying, You be content with your torch to excite love, whatever that may be, and do not aspire

to praises that are my prerogative, (p. 41) to a man possessed by desire. Despite his powers of strength and domination, the God of War is humbled by Love. A lesson is being taught to Apollo by Cupid. A weakness is spotlighted and exposed, and the role of Apollo is almost completely reversed. He is transformed from a figurehead of power to a crazed lover with no power over his love. Just after shooting Apollo, Cupid strikes Daphne with a blunt, lead-tipped arrow intended to put love to flight. The first transformation of Daphne occurs at this point. Not by her own choice but brought upon by the arrow, Daphne no longer is interested by the prospect of love. Although no physical changes take place, the character is obviously different than previous to being struck. At this point,

Daphne and Apollo have both been transformed to the same degree but in opposite directions. Metaphor is used throughout the description of Apollo s chase of Daphne. Upon encountering Daphne, Apollo falls madly in love with her. Overcome by Cupid s arrow, Apollo sets aside reason and becomes engulfed by his hope of attaining his love. Before being transformed, Apollo would most likely have paid little or no attention to Daphne, but now, Apollo is overcome by his lust for beauty. Ovid compares Apollo s love for Daphne to a flame in a brush. This metaphor used by Ovid is very effective. The change that goes through Apollo is very sudden and fast. The imagery of a flame rapidly spreading through brush conveys the idea of an almost violent change. The god is consumed with a desire for

the girl. His chase is fueled by a hope to overcome the ultimate futility of his actions. He sees every part of her as beautiful, her eyes, hair, face and even speculates as to the beauty of her hidden regions. Unsatisfied by the sight of Daphne and wanting more than just a glimpse of her beauty, Apollo follows Daphne as a hound chases a rabbit. The hope for his fruitless love keeps Apollo close on Daphne s trail, and fear motivates Daphne to stay just out of reach. When Ovid tries to convey the intensity of the flight, he says, He gave the fleeing maiden no respite, but followed close on her heels, and his breath touched the locks that lay scattered on her neck, (p. 43) Finally, burdened by mortal exhaustion, Daphne prays to her father to deliver her from her torment. As the