Review of Ovid’s Myths

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Review of Ovid’s Myths

The Roman poet Ovid was one of the most prolific scholars in the early years who published numerous Latin narrative poems. While most of the sonnets detail the history of the world from its creation, it is possible to identify the theme of love in some of his literature. Various forms of love are noted, ranging from personal affection to personified adoration, all with an objective of making the readers understand its presence over the years. The theme of love has been utilized to accentuate the character of different people, and to demonstrate its effects on the reasoning abilities of the gods (Ovid and Hollis 143). Additional themes that may be captured in the writer’s texts include gender relations as well as power, which are accentuated primarily through the characters. The themes of love, power, and gender relations are apparent in the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice, Apollo and Daphne, and Narcissus and Echo, and are utilized by the author as a reflection of the world that encompasses Greek mythology.

            The narrative of Orpheus and Eurydice is one of the most prominent Greek myths that expounds on the concepts of love, passion, and the weakness of the human soul and spirit. Orpheus, a skilled musician and melody creator, fell in love with Eurydice, a woman who was recognized for her unique beauty. Orpheus and Eurydice got married, and their wedding was blessed by Hymen who predicted that it was not bound to last. Eurydice succumbed to death rendering Orpheus sad and dejected. Orpheus was forced to follow her to Hades to restore her soul and life (Ovid and Hollis 95). However, instructions from the god of the underworld were clear advising Orpheus not to look at his wife until they are out of the underworld. Due to a weakness of the human soul and spirit and a lack of trust, Orpheus was tempted to look back leading to the second death of his wife.

            The tale of Apollo and Daphne is a love story that elucidates the power and malice of Cupid. Apollo was known as the god of reason, while Daphne was a Naiad nymph. In this myth, Cupid was known as the god of desire. Cupid stroke Apollo with one of the small, golden arrows after he was angered by Apollo’s questionable nature. This myth accentuates the assertions that it is possible to form gender relations with a person from the opposite sex, that love at first sight is unintentional, and that it is possible to fall in love with anyone despite having no interest for him or her (Ovid and Hollis 143). The theme of power affirms the position that a father is capable of doing anything for their children especially when experiencing emotions of fear. In the myth, Daphne’s father possesses a weak spirit as he acts rapidly without considering or understanding the reasons for Daphne’s cries.

            The story of Narcissus and Echo details events where a young, handsome man loved himself more than anyone, as well as the beautiful creature that fell in love with him. Narcissus was considered the most handsome man during the epoch, while Echo was a beautiful, magical female mortal residing in nature. This myth expounds on the notion that love should be unconditional. Echo loved Narcissus unconditionally despite his love for his own reflection (Ovid and Hollis 94). Obsession was one of the weaknesses that Narcissus possessed. The shortcoming was coupled with the compelling nature of vanity. Narcissus succumbed to death while staring at his reflection on the water.

Works Cited

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Ovid, and Adrian Swayne Hollis. Metamorphoses [of] Ovid. Book VIII: Edited with an Introduction and Commentary by A.S. Hollis. Clarendon Press, 1977.

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