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The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis

There are multiple theories of creation. Each theory is distinct, from the Big Bang theory to Christians’ God’s creation theory. Renditions of the creation theories or stories are also apparent, as illustrated by Ovid’s rendition of “The Creation.” Ovid’s rendition of “The Creation” explains how the Earth was created by a god, who is not described in detail, referring to the God as “Some god” (line 26) and “that god (whichever one it was)” (line 41), while in the Christian Bible, the creator is referred to as God; in the book of Genesis (Puchner et al. 80). Ovid positions that creation began by settling chaos through divisions such as land and water bodies, with different creatures for each part, and formations such as the globe shape of the Earth. In contrast, the world is presented as lonely and dark in the Christian Bible, and God creates all creation in seven days. These are just a few of the differences in Ovid’s rendition.

In Ovid’s excerpts, women are depicted in several ways to portray given characteristics. Some portrayals include feminization (Sharrock et al. 35), as defenseless beings, support for one another, and defying men illustrated through their triumphs and struggles. For instance, in book V, Proserpina was abducted by Dis (Pluto), who she smote. Proserpina could not defend herself against him as he carried her way. Additionally, Cyane shows support for Prosperpina by stating:

You cannot become the son-in-law of great Ceres

against her will: you should have asked and not taken! (line 583).

This also demonstrates that as a goddess, she stood up against the underworld king by getting in his way.

As an epic poem, the Metamorphosis has numerous lessons I took away. The first is resisting lust or desire, whereby many gods sexually assaulted women they were attracted to, which came with consequences. The second is the significance of moral virtues and responsibility, elaborated throughout the books through the gods who possessed a lot of power that, while utilized wrongly, led to dire consequences, with rewards for good actions. Such as the transformation of Iphis into a young man (Kamen 21) in book IX and Galatea from sculpture to a woman in book X.

Works Cited

Kamen, Deborah. “Naturalized Desires And The Metamorphosis Of Iphis”. Helios, vol 39, no. 1, 2012, pp. 21-36. Project Muse,

Puchner, Martin, et al. The Norton Anthology Of World Literature. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., pp. 80-614.

Sharrock, Alison, et al. Metamorphic Readings: Transformation, Language, And Gender In The Interpretation Of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. 1st ed., Oxford University Press, 2020, pp. 33-40.


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This week, you read excerpts from books 1, 2, 5,9, and 10 of Ovid’s The Metamorphosis. Please answer the following:

The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis

1. How does Ovid’s rendition of “The Creation” explain how the Earth was created and by whom? Is this different from other creation myths you’ve read in this course and may have heard in places like the Christian Bible? Explain.

2. How are women represented depicted in the excerpts you’ve read? Choose at least one book as an example to support your answer.

3. What, if any, moral lessons are you able to take away from The Metamorphosis?

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