Ovidian Transformations Change Readers' Perceptions

At the end of the Metamorphoses, Ovid boldly states “I will be borne, /The finer part of me, above the stars, /Immortal, and my name shall never die” (XV. 877-78). For Ovid, metamorphosis is a path to eternity and the preservation of time. Characters no longer remain permanent in his stories. Instead, their physical and emotional changes immediately reshape their natural environment. He makes the actions of mortals and gods unforgettable by writing about the morphing of memorable figures into common objects, which the readers can easily recall. He utilizes metamorphosis as a powerful tool to change our perception of the world. More specifically, his stories enable us to understand the reasons for the existence and placement of natural objects. These tales give previously unrelated and random events profound connections and shape the fundamental structures of both culture and nature. Ovid challenges traditional notions of the world by using transformations to establish order, teach lessons, and explain natural phenomena. His originality in writing about transformations also transcends philosophy-driven poetic imitations.

Neglecting Ovid’s careful arrangements, some readers find spurious metamorphoses ephemeral and random....

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