Analysis Of The Structure Of Book 10 In Ovid’s Metamorphoses

1849 words - 8 pages

Ovid’s Metamorphoses sees a case of links throughout the books and his work as a whole. Book ten is no different to this and the structure of book ten relies on the same idea of links throughout the text. The links can parallels in characters and their situations both from within the book and interaction elsewhere in the stories. We can also compare the thematic links like love, madness and betrayal in the story. But the biggest link throughout the texts is the transformations themselves which do have an effect on the structure of book ten as a whole.
One key idea in the books that Ovid explores in great detail throughout book 10 is the idea of love, both tragic and the madness of it. Orpheus is the secondary narrator of most of book 10. At the beginning of the book we are introduced to the tragic love of Orpheus and Eurydice, the result being Orpheus losing his love to the underworld for a second time after a failed attempt to get her back. As a result most of the stories Orpheus tells are of tragic love, like his and his doomed love Eurydice’s. The effect is that the stories of book ten have a structural link in the love theme. We see the lovers of Apollo suffer a similar fates as well as Myrrha and Adonis. All of these stories are linked by love that can be described as tragic as it results in someone’s transformation or downfall. However the love can be presented in another light as well. The love Ovid also explores is worrying or mad love. The love is Ate or madness in the hubris cycle in Greek literature. The love causes many negative things to happen. This is explored in great detail with Myrrha and her love for her father. The love is madness and is presented as an illness that resorts in her breaking the norms of society and paying ultimately with her life. While we see less extreme versions of that throughout book ten we still see cases such as with Apollo and Venus where love causes them to give up on their usual pursuits in life in favour of their lover. Even Orpheus who is warned what will happen if he turns around is consumed by his love to turn and as such loses his love. This madness is because of love. Ovid uses book ten to delve deeper into the intricacy of love and weather love is tragic or madness in this case.
Betrayal is also another idea that can link book ten throughout the stories. Betrayal is a theme more explored in book eight earlier, most notably in Scylla. But here we get another chance to explore the idea of accidental betrayal. The idea of betrayal can be seen in both Myrrha and Orpheus especially, though some other stories in the book feature betrayal. On the surface it’s easy to say Myrrha is one of the to blame cases. But the focalisation makes us realise that she may be more into a case of it being an accident. Focalisation is a key aspect of the structure of book ten in these two cases especially. With Myrrha we see in her soliloquies a reaction to the situation she is in and the guilt she feels. This gives...

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