Praj's Reviews > Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses by Ovid
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's review
Apr 25, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: ovid-lust-love
Read in April, 2011

Gods and their love affairs. Gods and their love affairs with mortals. Fate, covetousness, allegiance, brutalities, treachery and chastisements metamorphosing from the cocoon of mighty love. The discordant waves of love dangerously destabilizing romantic notions; overwhelming morality and raison d'être of Gods and mortals alike. Ovid makes you want to write intense poetry and feel affectionate to the idea of love as a device of alteration for better or worse. Love does not conquer all; it destroys and alters everything it touches. That is the best part in Ovid’s poems. They do not have happy endings. Lust or romantic love or ardent worship, acquired in any form changes a person, landscapes, communities mutating elements of fate and tragedies.

Metamorphoses elucidates the consequence of origin and transformation in its entirety.

My soul is wrought to sing of forms transformed to bodies new and strange! Immortal Gods inspire my heart, for ye have changed yourselves and all things you have changed! Oh lead my song in smooth and measured strains, from olden days when earth began to this completed time!

Ovid commences his poems by showing appreciation to God (which he says is yet unknown) for carving a loose mass of earth into a picturesque bounty of nature. The amorphous chaos changed into a convex ecstasy of pathless skies, terrains, rivers, the color and prototypes of birds and animals came through a process of love and hate. Ovid represents the mythical world of story telling and repeating fables with morality lessons. The justifications of rape or incest in Ovid’s works segregate the idea of faithful devotion from the viciousness of powerful acquisition that overcomes delusional love. Betrayals are penalized and loyalties are commended. The treatment of love is sagacious and didactic in this book as compared to his other works in the relating genre. It moves onto a broader scenario, becoming a defining factor in wars, altering powers between constituencies, breaking and making of civilizations. Ovid intends the reader to see the probable metaphoric significance of change as a crucial and homogeneous factor in life itself.

And now, I have completed a great work, which not Jove's anger, and not fire nor steel, nor fast-consuming time can sweep away. Whenever it will, let the day come, which has dominion only over this mortal frame, and end for me the uncertain course of life. Yet in my better part I shall be borne immortal, far above the stars on high, and mine shall be a name indelible. Wherever Roman power extends her sway over the conquered lands, I shall be read by lips of men. If Poets' prophecies have any truth, through all the coming years of future ages, I shall live in fame.

As he concludes this epic of transforming love, he credits the survival of Rome to his own prominence making it one of the most influential and renowned works over centuries. Metamorphoses is translated frequently by several modern poets and literary elites.
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05/21 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-9)

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message 9: by Praj (last edited Apr 25, 2011 08:40AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Praj Undoubtedly, this one. After all it does not make you perceive Ovid as a twisted bastard;)

message 8: by Gary (new)

Gary Christensen Wonderful review. One of my favorites also.

Praj Thanks, Gary:)

message 6: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian Vinogradus I have been looking at different editions and translations of Metamorphoses.
I think one was fully-fledged prose (rather than blank verse), while the others were different renderings in poetic form.
What translation did you read? What do you recommend?

message 5: by Praj (last edited Jul 21, 2011 01:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Praj Ian, I do know how confusing it might get comprehending vivid translation forms. Check these two sites, I hope they might make your reading easier.

message 4: by Ian (new) - added it

Ian Vinogradus Thanks, Praj, they look great.

message 3: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Cole I think I read somewhere that Ovid wrote these tales whilst in exile. Maybe happy endings were furthest from his mind at the time.

Praj Kevin wrote: "I think I read somewhere that Ovid wrote these tales whilst in exile. Maybe happy endings were furthest from his mind at the time."

I think so too. I have yet to read Ovid's poems of Exile. Have you read any Ovid?

message 1: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Cole No, but I've tried my hand with some other Romans: some good, some not so :-)

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