Following is an outline of the chapter along with the main learning objectives. To help coordinate your studies, this outline and the learning objectives are organized to match your textbook. This organization is also utilized in the chapter review section.
Part 1: Ovid
You should be aware of the elegant,
sophisticated character of Ovid's writings, in works such as "Art of Love" and Metamorphoses; the poet's historical background,
including banishment by an offended Caesar Augustus.
You should be able to discuss the significance of Ovid's banishment from Rome because of his cynical (if comic) portrayal of thelecherous pursuits of the Gods and humans that undermined the "official" image of a sober Roman citizen and satirized the Gods.
Part 2: The Metamorphoses: Significant Themes and Characters
You should be able to discuss the main theme of
Ovid's Metamorphoses in terms of -- "bodies changed", considering such
changes as; the creation of the universe -- change of the body of the cosmos; the changes
of the Earth which he concieved as going through cyclic changes of earth, water, air and
fire to earth again; characters, including the Gods, who change from human to animal and
other forms; Troy as it is transformed into Rome; and including the narrative transitions
that flow between and merge the collection of myths.
You should be able to discuss the nature of the
predominant "changes" in the narrative of Metamorphoses
in terms of the Roman concern with order, with boundaries between social classes, even among the Gods, giving to the
very nature of the cosmos a grim beginning in Chaos with all elements warring until order
is established and all creation is subdivided, with each element in its proper order.
You should be able to discuss the element of
"bathos" (a sudden dropping off in tone) as Ovid's tale moves from Mount Olympus
to the undercurrents that perhaps are satires of Caesar Augustus and his court, and
serving to bring the myths into the realm of ordinary human experience.
You should be able to discuss the "twin" follies of Echo and Narcissus in terms of:
- Echo, who was unable to begin or end a conversation on her own initiative, and that of Narcissus who carries self-absorption to extreme and fatally falls in love with his reflection in a pool, to ultimately dissolve and transform into the flower that bears his name; the woman who cannot express what is inside herself paired with a man who cannot respond to anything outside himself
- The involvement of the Gods -- Echo was chattering too much for the Goddess Juno to distract the Goddess while her husband, the God Jove makes love to nameless nymphs
- Narcissus, punished by the Goddess of vengeance, Nemesis when one of the young men rejected by Narcissus prays that Narcissus should suffer the pangs of unrequited love.
- Perseus' use of the Gorgon's head as well as the fate of Perseus and Andromeda (they are turned into constellations).
- The God Apollo, whose unwelcome advances toward Daphne bring her father to transform her into a laurel tree.
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