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He then turns the Titan Atlas into stone, and saves Andromeda from a monstrous sacrifice before marrying her despite her previous engagement. Stories are then told of how Latona punished men who were rude to her by turning them into frogs, and how Apollo flayed a satyr for daring to challenge his superiority as a musician. Philomela resists the rape, but Tereus prevails and cuts out her tongue to keep her from accusing him.

Philomela, however, still manages to inform her sister and, in revenge for the rape, Procne kills her own son with Tereus, cooks his body, and feeds it to Tereus. When Tereus finds out, he tries to kill the women, but they turn into birds as he pursues them.

Medea magically cures him, only to later trick his daughters into killing him so that Jason can then claim his throne. Medea flees to escape punishment but, when she returns to Jason , she discovers that he has a new wife, Glauce. However, Jove has blessed their ruler, King Aeacus, with the creation of a new race of people, and he promises that these men will serve Aegeus bravely and well.

Cephalus, before returning to Athens with the promised army, tells the story of how his own jealousy of his wife led him to test her unfairly and almost destroyed his marriage, and then explains how a foolish misunderstanding by his wife led him to accidentally kill her while hunting in the forest. Minos, however, is disgusted with her act and rejects her.


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Nisos is turned into an osprey, and his daughter is transformed into a bird. Minos requires Athens to send an Athenian youth every nine years as a sacrifice for the Minotaur, but, when Theseus is chosen as the third such tribute, he is saved by the love of princess Ariadne, who aids him through the labyrinth. He kills the Minotaur and sails away with Ariadne, although he then abandons her in Dia Naxos and Bacchus transforms her into a constellation.

Meanwhile, Daedalus plots to escape Crete with his son Icarus by flying on wings made of feathers and wax. After his adventures in Crete, Theseus and some other brave Greeks go to fight the Calydonian boar which was sent by Diana to punish the king of Calydon for neglecting her tribute. On his way back to Athens, Theseus takes shelter during a storm at the home of the river god Achelous, where he hears many stories, including the tale of how Achelous lost one of his horns, torn from his head in a battle with Hercules for the hand of Deianeira , which limited his power to change shape.

The centaur Nessus then attacked them, only to be killed by Hercules , although before he died Nessus gave Deianeira his shirt which he convinced her has the power to restore love, when in fact it was cursed. Years later, when Deianeira fears Hercules is in love with someone else, she gives him the shirt, and Hercules , consumed by pain, sets himself on fire and is deified. The story is then told of how Byblis confesses an incestuous passion for her twin brother Caunus, who flees upon hearing of it.

Heart-broken, Byblis attempts to follow, but is eventually turned into a fountain in her grief. When Hymen , the goddess of marriage, fails to bless the marriage of Eurydice and Orpheus , Eurydice dies. Orpheus is given a chance to visit the underworld and restore her to life, and although he manages to soften the hearts of Pluto and Proserpina with his music, he cannot resist looking back for his beloved and she is lost to him forever.

SparkNotes: Metamorphoses: Book I

Orpheus then tells the story of how Hippomenes won the hand of the swift althlete Atalanta by using golden apples to beat her in a race, and how he forgot to thank Venus for her help in this affair, resulting in both he and Atalanta being turned into lions. Adonis must therefore ever after avoid lions and beasts like them, but he was finally killed while hunting a boar, and Venus turned his body in an anemone.

The familiar story of King Midas , whose touch turned his daughter to gold, is then related.


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In a Bacchic frenzy, women tear Orpheus to pieces as he sings his sad songs, for which Bacchus turns them to oak trees. Ovid next turns to the story of the founding of the city of Troy by King Laomedon with the help of Apollo and Neptune , the tale of Peleus who kills his brother Phocus and is thereafter haunted by a wolf for his murder, and the story of Ceyx and his wife, Alcyone, who are turned into birds when Ceyx is killed in a storm.

After the war , the Trojan prince Aeneas escapes and travels through the Mediterranean to Carthage, where Queen Dido falls in love with him, and then kills herself when he abandons her. After further adventures, Aeneas and his men finally arrive at the kingdom of Latinus Italy , where Aeneas wins a new bride, Lavinia, and a new kingdom. Venus convinces Jove to make Aeneas a divinity and his son, Julus, becomes king. Generations later , Amulius unjustly seizes Latinus, but Numitor and his grandson Romulus recapture it and found the city of Rome. The Romans fight against the invading Sabines, and eventually agree to share the city, which will be jointly ruled by the Sabine leader Tatius and Romulus.

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The Pythagorean philosopher Numa becomes king of Rome, and Rome prospers in the peace of his rule. When he dies, his wife Egeria is so mournful that Diana transforms her into a fountain. Even closer to the present day of Ovid , Cipus refuses to become ruler of Rome after he sprouts horns from his head, and he convinces the Roman Senators to banish him from the city so he does not become a tyrant. Aesculapius, the god of healing, cures Rome of a plague, after which the god Caesar becomes ruler of Rome, followed by his son, Augustus, the current emperor of Rome.

Sometimes the poem retells some of the central events in the world of Greek and Roman myth, but sometimes it seems to stray in odd and apparently arbitrary directions. Having one actor play more than role was convenient for Shakespeare, whose acting company was limited in size, but doubling also enabled him to intensify the atmosphere of his plays, and to make connections and contrasts between scenes and storylines.

Emma Smith explores the way that the doubling in A Midsummer Night's Dream heightens the play's dreamlike and fantastical elements. Simon Callow walks us through their best moments, shining a light on their wit and appeal. Andrew Dickson discusses the influence of classical civilisation and literature on Shakespeare, and the playwright's critique of Roman values in Antony and Cleopatra , Coriolanus and Julius Caesar.

Classic Greek Mythology: Stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses

Romeo and Juliet begins with a Chorus setting the scene in the Italian city of Verona, where the Capulets and the Information Description The miniature on this page shows a scene from the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe and their forbidden love: Thisbe finds the body of Pyramus by a fountain and kills herself by falling on a sword.

Among his extant works are a collection of love elegies Amores , a collection of fictional letters of mythological heroines Heroides , and a 15 book mythological narrative Metamorphoses. It was written in epic metre but instead of focussing on a unified epic narrative, it collects together a large number of self-contained stories, including the tales of Daphne and Apollo, Diana and Actaeon, Daedalus and Icarus, Orpheus and Euridice, Achilles, Midas and many more.

Modern adaptation Ted Hughes has published a modern poetic adaptation of 24 tales from Metamorphoses called Tales from Ovid Discovering Literature: 20th century. Explore further Related articles. Dream, illusion and doubling in A Midsummer Night's Dream Article by: Emma Smith Themes: Comedies, Magic, illusion and the supernatural Having one actor play more than role was convenient for Shakespeare, whose acting company was limited in size, but doubling also enabled him to intensify the atmosphere of his plays, and to make connections and contrasts between scenes and storylines.

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