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Metamorphoses Essay

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White is the publisher of the Seattle-based press Scala House Press. In this essay, White argues that the themes of the gods' vengeance and caprice were drawn from the poet's experience in Augustan Rome.

Ovid's Metamorphoses is arguably the most influential literary work in the Western canon. For two millennia writers and artists of every genre have turned to the Roman epic for inspiration, more so than to any other single book, with perhaps the exceptions of the Bible or Homer's Odyssey. The major theme the poem addresses—and the theme that the vast majority of its influences repeatedly use—is, as the title suggests, metamorphosis, or change. Two equally important themes emerge from the poem: revenge and the gods' capricious use of power. Time and time again Ovid describes otherwise innocent beings transformed beyond recognition, either to save themselves from the caprices of the gods or because...

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This section contains 2,005 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Metamorphoses Study Guide
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Metamorphoses from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.