Week 12: Myth at Play II


Metamorphoses books 6, 8-9 and 14-15:


1. The Metamorphoses is something more than a simple handbook of classical mythology. To judge from the books you have read, what exactly is it? What is Ovid trying to do with this work as a whole?


2. Structurally, is there progress in the Metamorphoses? Has something changed between book 1 and book 15? If so what? Or is this just a heap of stories piled one on top of another, where one story could be substituted for another with no decernible difference in the structure of the poem?


3. More narrowly, think of each separate story in these books as an independent entity. What is Ovid trying to do with each story? Why does he tell each story in the way he does? How does the way he tells one story differ from the way he tells another?


4. How successful is Ovid in integrating Roman tales into the Greek mythological tradition?


5. What does the Metamorphoses tell us about the place of the mythological tradition in the Rome of Ovid’s day?