Metamorphoses

Love, War, and Thracians: A Critical Analysis of the Significance of Thrace In Ovid's Metamorphoses

In Ovid's "Metamorphoses", there are a great many instances that link love and war, thus creating a disconcerting antithetical comparison prominent throughout the canon of literature. In particular, this theme can be seen in and around the region of Thrace: home to a "primitive, warlike, and ferocious" people (Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1515). This description of the Thracians is elaborated on by Ovid, who pairs Thrace with brutal acts of dismemberment and revenge, and eliminates any possibility of divine intervention.

One of the most memorable instances of dismemberment in Ovid's "Metamorphoses" is that of Orpheus, the much-loved and sought-after poet. "Many women wanted this poet for their own, and many grieved over their rejection" (Ovid, 236), thus bringing about feelings of resentment and jealousy. Eventually, lust and desire for Orpheus lead the women to an act of incredible violence:

...and then the women rushed back to murder Orpheus, who stretched out his hands in supplication, and whose voice, for the first time, moved no one...The poet's limbs lay scattered where they were flung in cruelty or madness. (Ovid, 260)

First, one must address the irony of this...

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