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Lecture notes for Ovid Metamorphoses part

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					                                     Lecture notes for Ovid's Metamorphoses, part 2

Now let's continue on to book 4 and the story of Pyramus and Thisbe (pp. 83ff.). Pyramus and Thisbe fall in love
simply because of proximity, that is, by accident, in the root meaning of the word, that is, by chance: They happened
to live next door to each other: "Their nearness made them acquainted, and love grew, in time...," Ovid says (p. 83).
Their love grows intense because their parents refuse to allow them to marry: "You know how fire suppressed burns
all the fiercer" (p. 83) There is no reason given for their parents' opposition. That is not important for Ovid's narrative
purposes.

There happened to be a crack in the joint wall separating the two houses, through which Pyramus and Thisbe whisper
to each other: READ p. 83, marked passage. Another instance of frustrated love. That is, Echo and Narcissus are
frustrated lovers, Echo loving Narcissus, Narcissus loving him image in the pool, but they are passive and go into
declines and waste away. Pyramus and Thisbe are also frustrated, but, loving each other, decide to do something, to
sneak out of their houses at night and meet.

The arrange to meet (p. 84) at Ninus' tomb, by the mulberry tree, which then had white mulberries. Thisbe happens to
go out first (p. 84), sees a lioness with a mouth bloody that happens to be returning to her lair from attacking cattle.
Thisbe runs and hides in a nearby cave and happens to drop her veil, which the lioness happens to find and then
mangles with her bloody jaws. Now comes Pyramus: READ p. 84, "Pyramus, coming there" THROUGH p. 85, "The
same dark hue." This is how mulberries became dark.

Note the spurting blood (it has to reach the mulberries on the tree). I'll come back to that in a moment. Thisbe finds
Pyramus, almost dead: READ p. 85, "And then she saw a quiver" THROUGH "...closed his eyes." Thisbe then sees
her bloody veil, the scabbard without the sword, and instantly knows what happens. After a brief pre-death-speech (p.
86), she decides to die, too: READ p. 86 "She spoke" THROUGH "...a common urn."

The accidents, (beginning with the accident of Pyramus and Thisbe's being next-door neighbors and that of the crack in
the wall) develop a kind of slapstick quality: Pyramus, on seeing Thisbe's bloody veil, leaps to a conclusion, takes a
pratfall and lands on his sword. It's all so ridiculous.

Pyramus' self-inflicted mortal wound, with his blood spurting from his wound and spraying the air -- to read it again:
"the spouting blood leaped high, just as a pipe sends water spurting through a small hissing opening, when broken with
a flaw in the lead and all the air is sprinkled" -- this is grotesquely comic, although the description is presumably
necessary to get the white mulberries turned red.

Ovid says, literally, that the water-pipe, "ejaculates" the water (fistula.../.../eiaculatur aquas, 4.122-124), which, one
critic, Carole Newlands, says, "suggests" -- that is, "Pyramus' manner of dying" -- "suggests a gigantic orgasm" (124).
That is, Pyramus' falling on his sword, the blood spurting, etc., is an elaborate, somewhat camouflaged metaphor, for
saying that Pyramus, arriving first and impatient, takes things into his own hands, so to speak. In 17th century
metaphysical poetry, John Donne, for example, "dying" is a metaphor for sex, or the end of the sex act.

Yet, tempting as it is to seize upon Carole Newland's notion, another critic, William Anderson, observes that this
[OMIT: (or possibly Fasti 1.270)] is the "first appearance of the verb" eiaculor in Latin and goes on to say that "the
noun eiaculatio did not exist in ancient Latin." Thus (continuing with Anderson) "any sexual inferences draw from the
word [i.e., eiaculatur, 4.124] must be regarded as anachronistic..." ([1997] at 4.122-124, 425).

Take that, Carole Newlands. Well, at least you can see that classical scholarship is not always dry and boring. Thisbe
tries to rouse Pyramus with an almost silly-seeming vexation: " Pyramus, answer me! " Your dearest Thisbe is calling
you.
" Pyramus, listen!
" Lift your head!'" (p. 85)
Then she sees the empty scabbard and the bloody veil and understands (p. 86):
" So it was your own hand, your love, that took your life away.'"
She decides she will do it, too:
" I too have love enough, and this will give me strength of the last wound.
" I will follow you in death, be called the cause and comrade of your dying.'"


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After her speech, Ovid says: READ p. 86, "She spoke" THROUGH "...her lover's blood." No stream of blood spurting
into the air in a high arc here. I wonder what Professor Newlands would make of Thisbe's death. The entire episode,
depending so much on chance or happenstance, is infused with a heightened sense of the absurd, that is, it makes no
sense and is comical. There is no heavy meaning, no sense of tragedy, nothing Romeo-and-Julietish about it.

He dies; she dies; that's that; and mulberries are red from then on. A few pages further on and we come to the story of
Salmacis and Hermaphroditus (pp. 90-93). Whether or not the episode of Pyramus and Thisbe narrates a story with an
elaborate metaphor about sex that didn't quite make it, Salmacis and Hermaphroditus tells a story that is downright
clear about sex that didn't quite make it. This time, we have a virginal boy and an aggressive female, female sexuality
in action.

In this story you need to know in advance that Salmacis is a water nymph who is both her pool and a human-like divine
(and very attractive) creature. As the Ovid scholar Hermann Fr„nkel says, "...Ovid plays upon the double nature of a
water nymph who both is and is not the identical with the pool she inhabits. "The poet imagines the pool and the nymph
now as one and the same, now as two and different, and again as two and similar.

"He pictures the translucent waters of the Salmacis pool as embedded in green meadows..., and soon afterward he
similarly describes the naiad Salmacis as clad in a transparent dress and reclining on soft grass" (Ovid: A Poet
Between Two Worlds, 88). (A naiad is a water-nymph.) For a story about love (or rape) in the woods (and many of
Ovid's stories are about that), Salmacis is unusual, as the poet emphasizes in his description of her: READ p. 91,
"...and in the pool was dwelling" THROUGH "and wanted what she saw."

A nymph dwelling in the woods who is so unconcerned with hunting and so preoccupied with what she wears and how
she looks is most unusual. Salmacis, "looking into the mirror of the water to find what dress was most becoming to her"
-- water that is also herself -- is a fascinating combination of Narcissus and Echo. Narcissus -- that's obvious, I should
think. But Echo?

Well, Echo with a difference: Echo wants Narcissus fiercely and comes on to him as much as her echoing nature will
let her, but it hampers her and she can only go so far -- and, of course, Narcissus resists her even more fiercely than she
lusts for him. Salmacis comes on to Hermaphroditus much more strongly: READ p. 92 (top), "Are you a god, dear
boy" THROUGH "...to bed together."

This speech is modeled on Odysseus' speech to Nausikaa in book six of the Odyssey, as critics have long noticed.
Hermaphroditus blushes, and when Salmacis tries to kiss him, says, the fool, " Stop it..., Will you stop it? I am leaving
this place and you'" (p. 92). Notice the Narcissus-and-Echo-like exchange between them: Hermaphroditus: " I am
leaving this place, and you.'"

Salmacis: " I leave the place to you, then...'" (p. 92).
But Salmacis has a lot more moxie than Echo could ever muster (NOTE: "moxie" is "The ability to face difficulty with
spirit; pluck" [The American Heritage Dictionary, s.v.].): She only pretends to go away and hides behind some bushes
and watches him as he flings off his clothes to take a dip in the pool -- a voyeur, or, rather, a voyeuse, a peeping-Tom-
ess. He doesn't know she is the pool.

READ p. 92 (bottom) "Desire of the naked body" THROUGH p. 93, "...fight as he may." It's pretty clear, isn't it, what's
going on, or, rather, what is not going on? I don't need to draw you a picture, I don't think. Salmacis utters a prayer as
she holds herself wrapped around Hermaphroditus: READ p. 93, "May no day" THROUGH "...and yet both." You
remember that the story is introduced on p. 90 as a tale about a pool whose waters "make men weak and feeble." Again,
I don't need to draw a picture.

Hermaphroditus "doesn't want to" equals (or has turned into) Hermaphroditus "can't." Now back to the end of the story
(p. 93): "Hermaphroditus saw that the water had made him half a man, with limbs all softness." So he prays (to his
mother and father) that Salmacis' pool will ever after have the same effect on any man who swims in it, and his prayer
is granted. The next story we're going to look at is that of Arachne, the girl who was an artist and challenged the
goddess Minerva to a contest in weaving figured tapestries, that is, weaving tapestries that represented scenes or told




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stories (the beginning of book 6, pp. 129ff.). Minerva is spoiling for a fight -- she is riled up from the preceding story
told her by the Muses about a challenge to their ability as singers from some mortal sisters.

As Ovid says at the beginning of the tale: READ p. 129, "Minerva heard the story" THROUGH "...who flout my
power." She has someone in mind to vent her anger on, Arachne, who has boasted of her talent, calling it better than
Minerva's. The next few lines, beginning, "She was thinking about Arachne, etc.," might be better translated, "...she
began to think about how to punish Arachne of Lydia, who, she had heard, saw no reason to yield to the goddess in the
art of weaving wool."

As the lines make clear, Minerva has already decided to punish Arachne before they meet. In the line that I just read,
Arachne "saw no reason to yield to the goddess..." (6.6), the verb translated "yield" (cedere) can, one scholar (von
Albrecht) says, also mean "take second place to" as well as "give way to."

That is, Arachne sees no reason to consider herself an inferior artist in comparison with Minerva. While Arachne's
inflexibility will later do her in, here, provocation of Minerva is not at issue. It is simply Arachne's success and fame
that Minerva feels herself challenged by ([1984] 461). Ovid emphasizes that Arachne is a nobody: Her parents were
nobodies, and she's a nobody, too, but she has a special talent and, Ovid says (p. 129), "was famous for her skill," that
is, skill in the art of weaving, which has traveled far and wide.

She sees herself as totally self-made, with no help from anyone, least of all Minerva. She is therefore not prepared to
recognize superiority in another without putting it to the test. In her eyes, her proposal to have a contest in weaving
with Minerva (6.25) is not blasphemy. On the contrary, she offers Minerva what she herself considers a fair chance -- "
I challenge her, and if I lose, there's nothing I would refuse to pay!' " (p. 130). Minerva comes to Arachne in disguise as
an old woman.

She offers her motherly advice but expresses it in such a way as to give the girl extreme provocation (von Albrecht
[1984] 458): READ p. 130, "Confine your reputation" THROUGH "...if you only ask it." Arachne rises to the bait (p.
130): " As for your wonderful goddess, why, where is she? Why does she dodge the challenge I have offered?' "

Minerva now springs the trap (p. 130): " She is here,' " and takes off her disguise and reveals herself as the goddess.
Those present "worshiped" the goddess, Ovid says, but Arachne, though "startled," "was not awed, " and remains
defiant (p. 130). They set up two looms (p. 131), and Ovid describes the weavers and the colors they weave into their
tapestries: READ p. 131, "From the dark purple" THROUGH "...are altogether different." "Threads of gold were
woven in," Ovid says, "and each loom told a story" (p. 131) And now we come to the heart of the matter: the two
works of art the two competing artists, one human, the other a goddess, create.

Although the two artists work simultaneously, Ovid fittingly describes Minerva's tapestry first, since she is a goddess:
READ p. 131, "Minerva showed the hill of Mars" THROUGH p. 132, "...her very signature." Minerva thus weaves a
representation of the contest between herself and Neptune to name (and be the patron deity of) Athens: In a competition
in weaving she's a contestant in, she weaves an account of an earlier contest in which she competed against, we would
assume, a much more difficult opponent (Neptune), a contest to decide which of the two is the better creator.

You could say their competition to be become Athens' patron was thus about creativity itself. Notice that Minerva
refers to the gods judging the contest only as "the well known faces," over whom Jove presides, and he is not described.
She doesn't describe her rival Neptune, either, although you think she might have spared him some little description.

She herself is "[t]he only figure described in any detail," as one critic (Hardy) observes, adding, "The impression is that
of an artist absorbed with herself" (143). It may be that her choice of subject ("self-praise and self-vindication" Feeney
calls it: 191) is meant to intimidate or demoralize Arachne, if she steals a glance at Minerva's tapestry as she herself
works. The goddess' tapestry is clearly intended to deliver a lesson: READ p. 131, "But that her challenger"
THROUGH "...in miniature design." These four additional contests in the four corners (but of a totally different kind),
seem to be contests that mortals lost to gods, undergoing metamorphosis as punishment for defeat.

Little or nothing is known about the myths referred to, and nothing is known about them as contests. (See Anderson
[1972] at 6.87-98, 163-164; and B”mer at 6.87-100, 3.32-35). Ovid undercuts the warning message the four corners of




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Minerva's tapestry are supposed to deliver, for he "increasingly elicits pity for the punished mortals, instead of outrage
at their daring" (Hardy 144):

In the fourth corner all we see is the grieving father Cinyras trying "to embrace the temple- steps that once had been his
daughters; he lies on stone; he seems to weep" (p. 132). Minerva frames her work "with a border of peaceful olive-
wreath around it, her very signature" (p. 132), which is also a re-assertion or reminder of her victory over Neptune.
One critic [Barkan] sums up Minerva's tapestry thus: "[T]he gods sit all-powerful in the middle (of the universe or of
the work of art), whence they deal out punishing metamorphoses to mortals.... The whole picture is highly
moralistic,...and bound up with that moralism is an aesthetic of sharp definition and finality" (3). The form, content,
and moral purpose of the tapestry is "classical and Augustan," another critic [Curran] says ([1972] 84), indeed, contains
a reference to Augustus himself, for the gods sit, Ovid says, "in solemn majesty," augusta gravitate (6.73), using the
adjective that Octavian adopted as his official title in 27 B.C. (Humphries translates the Latin phrase, "on lofty thrones
in majesty," p. 131.)

But after Octavian became Augustus, the word used in literature always invoked him in some way. So we could
imagine Jove and the panel of gods judging the contest as Augustus and the Senate (Anderson [1972] at 6.73, 161).
Arachne's tapestry is quite different: READ p. 132, "Arachne also worked in the gods" THROUGH p. 133, "...as the
work was ended." The girl's tapestry has no order ("no center, no corners to be filled," Vincent 369), but it does have a
central theme, gods raping females, changing themselves into animals to perpetrate their violations. And by contrast
with Minerva's tapestry, it is gods, not humans, who undergo (self)-metamorphosis, and the perspective is purely that of
this world [von Albrecht says [1984] 459]. Arachne's vignettes are enclosed in a border of intertwining flowers and
ivy, the latter of which is associated with Dionysus and eroticism (von Albrecht [1984] 459). Arachne manages to
weave vignettes of 21 rapes in the 24 lines of her tapestry (pp. 132-133) Jove is responsible for nine, Neptune for six,
Apollo for four, and Bacchus and Saturn for one each.

But are they all rapes? There is certainly little violence in these scenes; it is, rather, the "element of deception" that
Ovid emphasizes (Hardy 145). For example, Europa is "cheated" (elusam 6.103) by Jupiter (p. 132). Asterie, it is
true, is "held by the eagle," but the eagle "struggles" with her (luctante 6.108; NB: LEFT OUT BY HUMPHRIES).
Leda is simply "lying under the wings of the swan." Antiope is "pregnant with twins" by Jove. Jove "took" Alcmena
that is, erotically. But he "fools" (luserit 6.113; OMITTED BY HUMPHRIES) Danae, Aegina, Memory, and

Proserpina in different ways (as a "shower of gold," a "flame," a "shepherd," and a "mottled snake"). Neptune is
"another cheater," appearing in different forms for his six rapes: "a bull to one Aeolian girl, a river to another, or a ram;
a stallion to Ceres..."; "a wingŠd bird" for Medusa, a "dolphin" for Melantho.

For the first three of Apollo's four rapes (p. 133) there is neither verb nor victim (if indeed they are rapes, accounts of
such being otherwise unknown: See B”mer at 6.122-124, 3.43): He is simply "there" (illic 6.122; i.e., on the tapestry)
as a "country boy;" as "a shepherd" "deluding" Isse; at other times he is "there" as "a hawk" or "a tawny lion."

Bacchus "deceives" (deceperit 6.125) Erigone, and Saturn "fathers" (crearit 6.125) the Centaur Chiron; no victim-
mother is named. By the time we reach Saturn, who "fathers" Chiron (6.126), the focus is upon "the generative power
of the gods, both in changing their shapes and in fathering new life," and it is difficult to see Arachne's artwork "as an
attempt to provoke sympathy for the women so routinely victimized by the gods" (Hardy 146).

Arachne, moreover, doesn't demean the gods. Her defiant attitude about her ability as an artist vis … vis Minerva has
led critics and scholars to assume that her art is defiant, too. But unless it is ridiculing the gods to represent them
transformed into various shapes, and I don't know that it is, Arachne honors Jove as the most versatile shape-changer
with nine transformations; to Neptune, defeated by Minerva in her tapestry, Arachne gives six changes of shape.

There is also no shame for male gods in rape, more's the pity. That being so, why should a god be ashamed that as a
swan, he seduced Leda, as golden rain, Danae, as fire (!), Aegina? Minerva's anger at Arachne's success -- and we
remember that the goddess came away from the Muses angry and spoiling for a fight [as von Albrecht has emphasized]
-- is fueled not only by the girl's talent ("Neither Minerva, no, nor even Envy could find a flaw in the work," Ovid says,
p. 133) but, perhaps, also by the attention Arachne gives to defeated Neptune as well as by the subject of the tapestry:




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Minerva is a virgin goddess who has recently come from (and been part of) a conclave of prudish virgins (in the
preceding book). Minerva has many reasons to be a hostile, even hateful, critic (and she is both contestant and judge!),
and the narrator's designation of Arachne's woven tales as "crimes of the gods" (p. 133), which occurs between
Minerva's tearing Arachne's tapestry and beating the girl over the head with her shuttle, can be taken as simply
Minerva's opinion.

Venus, the goddess of sexual love, wouldn't have had a problem with it. And we never hear the opinions of Jupiter,
Neptune, Apollo, Bacchus, and Saturn. William Anderson says of the two works of art: "The goddess produced a
perfect piece of classicistic art, structurally balanced and thematically grandiose.... "Arachne on the other hand wove a
swirl of divine figures.... "There is no apparent structure to the tapestry..." ([1968] 103).

Why am I going into this episode at such length and in so much detail? The reason is that various critics, in
differentiating sharply between Minerva's and Arachne's art, identify Arachne's kind of art as very much like Ovid's.
Here is one interpreter (Curran): Arachne's border of flowers and ivy, he says, alludes to "the fluid nature of his
[Ovid's] and Arachne's methods of composition" [(1972) 84]. Here's another (Anderson): "Symmetry is no prerequisite
to Ovidian art; a set of loosely ordered tales can form a masterpiece" [(1968) 103]. In other words, it's a contest
between classical art and "modern" art.

[OMIT Leach seems to me to be closer to the truth, however, when she observes that Ovid draws from both aesthetics,
the classicistic and idealizing -- and the "modernistic": While the "vision of Arachne's tapestry is perfectly in keeping
with the world vision of the Metamorphoses,"she says, and while "Minerva's and Arachne's versions of mythology and
metamorphosis assert the power of the gods, one as a force of order, the other as a force participating in the flux of
nature," Ovid himself "maintains a perspective embracing both points of view," making it "impossible to identify
Ovid's perspective entirely with Arachne's..." (103, 104). Moreover, "the poem itself contains principles and
perspectives that simultaneously complement and contradict one another...[,] visions of order and chaos intermingled.
Only in the tapestries are these perspectives drawn apart as if for momentary clarification" (118).]

Classical art (Minerva's) is also the art of power (Minerva is contestant, judge, and punisher). Arachne cannot endure
Minerva's violent attack and hangs herself (p. 133). Mercurial Minerva "at last was moved to pity," Ovid says (p. 133)
"and raised her saying: Live, wicked girl; live on, but hang forever,'" and decrees that " This punishment shall be
enforced for always on all your generations'" (p. 133).

This is obviously not a favor, and Arachne is better off dead, for Minerva's transformation of her (into a spider:
Arachne is the Greek word for spider) is a vicious reduction that compels the girl to produce works -- spider-webs --
that are minimalist in content, and in their form, simplicity, and symmetry "classicistic," and thus like Minerva's art in a
grotesque way.

But "[w]orst of all," an interpreter says (Feeney, paraphrasing Seneca [Ep. 121.23 CHK]), "a spider's work is not art.
"All spiders produce the same, none is more skilled than the next.... "At the end, it really is true that...[as Ovid says,
"You would know...that Minerva taught her": p. 130]..." (Feeney 193-194).

If Arachne's art is like Ovid's, then one can even read the episode as a haunting prophecy. Augustus loved Virgil's
"classical" poem, the Aeneid, and hated Ovid's kind of poetry and exiled him because of it. I want to turn now to that
heart-warming story, also in book 6, of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela. When Tereus, king of Thrace, helps Athens
defeat an army besieging the city, Pandion, king of Athens, "made him a son as well as ally, joining his daughter
Procne to Tereus in marriage" (pp. 142-143).

But the marriage is doomed, as circumstances and certain events of the wedding ceremony show: READ p. 143, "The
omens" THROUGH "...it seems." (6.428-434). All the things that are wrong about the wedding are presumably known
only to the narrator and to us, the readers, and not to Tereus and Procne, and certainly not to Pandion, otherwise the
king would have called the wedding off.

Ovid's aim is to create foreboding in the readers. Five years after their marriage (this is on p. 143), Procne, living in
Thrace, asks her husband to allow her to return to Athens to visit her sister or let her sister come to see her. Tereus goes
after her himself (p. 143, "So Tereus promptly had the ship made ready": Thracians were known as being hot-blooded
and impulsive). Ovid brings Tereus quickly to Athens and into the presence of King Pandion (p. 143).


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And now "here Philomela came," Ovid says (p. 143), "in rich apparel, in richer grace." As soon as Tereus sees her he
falls in love. READ p. 144, "And Tereus looked at her" THROUGH p. 145 "...was she to know." Pandion allows
Philomela to go to Thrace with Tereus to visit her sister. Ovid adds a comment for our benefit, creating irony by hinting
something to us as readers that his characters don't know: "Philomela, poor girl is happy, and thanks him [her father];
both his daughters, she thinks, have won; they are losers, both his daughters, but how was she to know?" (p. 145).

Pandion sends his daughter off tearfully, asking Tereus -- begging him, actually, as Ovid says: "I beg you" (p. 145) --
to "protect her with a fathers's love, and send her safe home...." He also asks Philomela to come home soon, and as he
asks them to give his love to Procne and his grandson Itys, "his voice broke," Ovid says, "and underneath his sorrow
foreboding lay" (p. 145, bottom).

On board his ship, Tereus can hardly wait (bottom p. 145, top p. 146): READ p. 146 #1, "and looks her over"
THROUGH "...gloating gaze." As soon as they arrive in Thrace, Tereus drags Philomela to a hut in the woods: READ
p. 146 #2, "...and he shut her in there" THROUGH "...and left her."

As soon as she regains her senses, Philomela attacks Tereus (p. 146): "Were my father's orders nothing to you, his
tears, my sister's love, my own virginity, the bonds of marriage? "Now it is all confused, mixed up; I am my sister's
rival, a second-class wife, and you, for better and worse, the husband of two women...." The sex act, even when it is
rape, binds her to Tereus, Philomela feels, like a wife, at least externally.

But, as she says, "Now it is all confused, mixed up." She curses Tereus: READ p. 146 #3, "If those on high"
THROUGH p. 147, "...will hear me." Tereus now becomes both angry and fearful. He draws his sword, grabs
Philomela's hair and pulls her head back, and she thinks he is going to cut her throat, a prospect she looks forward to (p.
147): "...the thought of death [was] most welcome: her throat was ready for the stroke," Ovid says.

But Tereus has something else in mind: READ p. 144, "But Tereus did not kill her" THROUGH "...to its mistress'
feet." This is grotesque. Is it comical, too, the tongue on the ground murmuring -- murmuring? -- inching its way on the
ground like an inch-worm to die at Philomela's feet. Tereus is a brutal and unfeeling animal. Philomela is in shock, and
her distress is grotesquely displaced to her severed tongue, dying on the ground.

But this is not all (p. 147): "And even then -- it seems too much to believe -- even then, Tereus took her, and took her
again, the injured body still giving satisfaction to his lust." Ovid understood 2,000 years ago the pathology of the rapist:
It isn't the poor male in the grip of an irresistible testosterone-attack that leads him to rape, it is the desire to hurt a
woman, or a girl, to do violence to her, that feeds the lust that leads to rape: The bloody, tongueless mouth of Philomela
arouses Tereus to rape her twice more, for the second and third times.

Ovid understood that violence is as much a part of the "satisfaction" of rape as sex is. But in terms of his own time one
wants to know how or why Ovid could describe such savagery. According to one critic (Karl Galinsky) Ovid's
presentation of such "grotesque cruelty is a concession to the taste of the Roman public and a concession that does not
seem to have been grudgingly granted."

He quotes another scholar (Arthur Darby Nock): " [C]ruelty and pleasure in exercising and witnessing cruelty existed
in the amphitheater and in the household....'" Galinsky adds, "Their appeal [that is, the appeal of "cruelty and pleasure
in exercising and witnessing cruelty"] at Ovid's time, was nothing short of monumental, as is indicated by the truly
staggering number of beasts alone which the Emperor provided for the arena. And a premium was put...on killing these
animals crudeliter [cruelly], and the humans fared no better" ([1975] 138-139).

Tereus returns to his palace and tells his wife Procne that her sister Philomela has died (p. 147, bottom to p. 148, top).
Philomela, meanwhile, is shut up in the cottage in the woods and cannot escape and she has, Ovid says "no power of
speech to help her tell her wrongs" (p. 148) So, imprisoned, isolated, mute, Philomela shares the condition of blocked
utterance, the inability to speak, which, a critic notes (Altieri) is the distinctive mark of being human --she shares that
condition with Io, Callisto, and Actaeon. But unlike Io, Callisto, and Actaeon, Philomela still has her human shape,
although she has been deprived of her tongue (a kind of metamorphosis), the organ that enables her to speak. Also
unlike Io, Callisto, and Actaeon, or Callisto and Actaeon, anyway (p. 148) "her grief has taught her sharpness of wit,
and cunning comes in trouble."


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She has a loom, and on it she weaves her story in a tapestry, "purple on a white background" that she sends to her sister
(p. 148). Leonard Barkan explains, "Many of the great figures of...[the] poem define themselves by their struggle to
invent new languages. "That is clearest in the case of metamorphic victims like Actaeon or Io, who must labor to use
human language fitting their consciousness once their shape has turned beastly.... "Philomela's is merely the most
extended of all these struggles. "Her mutilation is another language-denying metamorphosis...[that] requires her to
create a new medium, a composite of words and pictures" (247), that is, the "purple on a white background" as she
weaves "her story in, her story in and out" (p. 148).

The English poet W.H. Auden said of William Butler Yeats in an obituary poem for Yeats, "[M]ad Ireland hurt you
into poetry." Tereus' inhuman savagery or (if Galinsky is correct) him all-too-human, that is to say, all-too-Roman,
savagery has forced Philomela to become an "artist." But unlike other human artists in the poem (the Minyades, the
Pierides, Arachne) she does not fail.

In fact, she does not succeed until she becomes an artist; her artwork saves her. But it does more, as the interpreter of
Ovid, Charles Segal, notes: "Philomela's weaving is both the art-work of the tale and the agency of revenge within the
tale" ([1992] 283). Procne, on receiving the tapestry, unrolling it, and understanding its story is grief-stricken and
outraged and immediately determines to get revenge (p. 148).

During the rites of Bacchus, she goes to the woods, finds the cottage where Philomela has been locked up, rescues her,
and brings her, disguised like a Bacchant, to the palace (pp. 148-149). Philomela feels intense shame: READ p. 149,
"but Philomela could not" THROUGH "...with her hand."

Notice: She tries to say, by gestures, it was not my fault. This is a superbly described moment. She cannot
communicate and somehow feels guilty and also fears the blame-the-victim attitude commonly applied to victims of
rape. But Procne understands and plans vengeance: READ p. 149 #2, "I am prepared" THROUGH "...I wish I did."

Her first sight of her sister and her reaction to what she sees inversely parallels Tereus first sight of Philomela when he
went to Athens to fetch her and reacted to what he saw (p. 144). What to do? Just then she sees her son Itys and knows
exactly what to do: "How like his father he is!" she thinks (p. 149).

"That was enough," Ovid says (p. 149), "she knew, now, what she had to do." "[B]ut when the little fellow came close
and put both arms around his mother, and kissed her in appealing boyish fashion" (p. 149) she hesitates: READ p. 150
#1, "Her eyes filled with tears" THROUGH "dripped blood." Procne and Philomela serve Itys to his father.

And now comes the moment of recognition and revenge: READ p. 150 #2, "High in the chair" THROUGH 151,
"...looks like war." Procne turns into a nightingale, Philomela into a swallow (Anderson, Ovid: Met. 6-10 [1972], 206),
and Tereus into a hoopoe. The next episode for us is to consider is the story of Cephalus and Procris (pp. 174-180), a
tale of a marriage that starts out happily but quickly runs into trouble, recovers and becomes happy again, and then,
through a combination of bad luck, bad judgment, and sheer accident, ends in tragedy.

What gives the story its elegiac or melancholy tone is the fact that it is narrated by Cephalus himself, now approaching
old age, who looks back over his life and marriage and does not spare himself in recounting what went wrong.
Cephalus has traveled from Athens to the island of Aegina, not too far from Athens, to seek the support of Aegina's
king Aeacus in a coming war between Athens and Crete. The story is prompted in a casual way, as often happens in
Ovid, in this case, by a question from one of the king's sons, whose name is Phocus, about an unusual spear Cephalus is
carrying.

By the end of the story, you will wonder why in the world Cephalus still carries it. Phocus, noticing the spear, says (p.
174), " I am fond of hunting,...I know the woods, but I have never seen such a shaft; I am curious about it. ...I have
never seen one more beautiful, or better balanced.'"

One of Cephalus' traveling companions -- note: not Cephalus himself -- says, You should see it in action (p. 174): "
...always it flies unfailing to the mark you aim at, chance never guides its flight, and it comes flying with blooded barb,
back to the hand that flung it.' " That only intensifies Phocus' curiosity, and he now asks, Why is that? and Where did
you get it?


                                                            7
Now Cephalus steps in and, Ovid says (p. 174), "answered all except one question," that question being "What had it
cost him?" There is a long pause as, Ovid says (p. 174), Cephalus "grieved for his lost wife, and then, with tears, began
the story." Ovid emphasizes Cephalus' sadness by telling us again, in Cephalus' opening words, that the man is weeping
(p. 174):

"This weapon makes me weep, it will make me weep, as long as ever I live.
"Would I had never owned it, the destruction of my dear wife, of both of us together.' "

So we know at the very beginning that the spear has a history tragic for Cephalus and Procris. But why in the world is
he carrying it around with him in the first place. As the German commentator, Franz B”mer says, "According to all
the laws of psychology and logic a man does not carry continually with himself the weapon with which he has killed
his beloved wife, the sight of which reduces him to weeping without let-up, particularly in this case, since he
[Cephalus] certainly knows that he doesn't need it anyway" (introduction to 7.672-865, 3.367).

Does he travel a lot, get asked a lot about his spear? Does he tell the story often? It appears at first glance to be simply
the sad recollection of a man looking back over his life at early happiness, then bad luck compounded by errors of
judgment and mistakes. But he tells his story in such an artful way that you almost wonder that if someone failed to ask
him about his unusual-looking spear, he would say, "Don't you want to know about my spear?" Don't get me wrong.
I'm not judging Cephalus as insincere or a little screwy. I am suggesting that Ovid, by the way he presents the story, is
indirectly telling us an even sadder story, that has to do with the psychology of Cephalus and thus human psychology:
he is a man badly wounded who doesn't want (or won't let) his wound heal, for that wound is his life, and if it healed,
he would have nothing to live for.

Cephalus' story falls into three parts, or into two parallel parts divided by a shorter tale that is different from but related
to the other two. In the first part (pp. 175-177), Cephalus tells of an interlude with the goddess of the dawn, Aurora,
early in his marriage, which is followed by his suspicion about his wife Procris' fidelity and his testing her (7.690-758 =
69 lines). In the third part (pp. 178-180), Cephalus tells of Procris' jealous suspicion of him and, when she decides to
check out her suspicion, her accidental death at his hands with the spear, a spear she herself had given to him, the spear
he carries now that Phocus wondered about (7.795-862 = 68 lines).

These two parts are parallel and of almost equal length, being 69 and 68 lines long, respectively. They are separated by
the story of the wondrous dog Laelaps (whose name means Hurricane in Greek) (pp. 177-178), also a gift to Cephalus
from Procris, and the monstrous beast ravaging people and herds in Thebes that it pursued to the point of their
simultaneous metamorphoses into "two marble statues in the plain, one fleeing, one in pursuit..." as Ovid says (p. 178,
top).

This middle story "continue[s] our suspense," William Anderson says, "by concentrating on...[Procris'] second gift."
By the end of this second part, it has been a hundred lines [Anderson says] since Cephalus, in tears, began his story
about the spear ([1990] 133). Cephalus hunted a lot as a young man, and was out hunting early one morning when
Aurora, the dawn, saw him and carried him off: READ #1, p. 175, "We had been married" THROUGH "...nourished
by the nectar."

This is interesting as a reverse rape -- or reverse attempted rape, I should say. By that I mean a female goddess carries
off a male human. The psychology of the situation is so different from that of Apollo and Daphne, Jove and Io, and
Jove and Callisto. Aurora apparently cannot succeed in satisfying her desire for Cephalus -- she cannot rape him --
although she's by no means powerless, as we shall see. Cephalus makes Aurora angry by constantly talking about his
wife Procris, even about their wedding night ("our first night together," p. 175).

She becomes so angry that she sends Cephalus home, sowing the seed of what will be cruel revenge by saying (p. 175),
" ...if I know one thing about the future, you will come to wish that you had never had her!' " Unrape-able though he
may be -- and I trust you will agree that Cephalus never made love with Aurora -- Cephalus is, however, very
suggestible, which Aurora must have known or guessed at, because...: READ p. 175 #2, "And as I went" THROUGH
"...always fearful."




                                                              8
Why should the fact that Aurora was "no paragon of virtue" contribute to making Cephalus suspicious of his wife? He
decides to test Procris "with costly gifts" (p. 176, top), and Aurora "helps" him by changing his appearance so he can
go back home unrecognized. He manages to get into the presence of Procris, which would be very difficult, for he was
– or appeared to be -- a total stranger, and it requires "a thousand ruses" (p. 176) to see her. Cephalus describes what it
was like seeing his wife while he was in disguise and she didn't recognize him: READ #1, p. 176, "And when I saw
her" THROUGH "...becoming to her!" The psychology of this is interesting, but weird: Trying to seduce your beloved
while disguised as someone else.

You also have to play the role and watch yourself (and your beloved) while you play it. Procris resists: " I keep myself
for one,'" she tells him, " wherever he is, I save my pleasure for him'" (p. 176). Cephalus now tries harder: READ #2,
p. 176, "What more" THROUGH "...virgin huntress." Notice Cephalus' comment, "...I kept on fighting to wound
myself." I observed earlier that perhaps Cephalus carries his fatal spear so that he will be asked about it and can then, in
telling the story of it, reopen or pick at the deep, unhealed wound that seems to have defined his life.

What is the matter with this man? He only made her "hesitate" with his offer of "a fortune for just one night." Is that
realistic? On Ovid's part, I mean. If you were married or engaged or whatever and someone offered you "a fortune for
just one night," would you be tempted?

What about Procris' reaction: "...hating him and all the race of men" she leaves home and wanders in the mountains,
devoting herself to the virgin huntress, Diana. Is this an understandable or typical reaction to what Cephalus has done,
one that you can identify with?

Becoming a devotee of Diana and roving the forests as a hunter or huntress is the standard way of rejecting the
opposite sex, or choosing not to interact with the opposite sex. Remember Hippolytus in Euripides' play of that name, if
you've read it. But hunting is also Procris' husband's favorite activity, and, in fact, he had just returned from hunting --
where he had been carried off by Aurora -- when he tested her. Cephalus begs Procris to come back to him (bottom of
p. 176, top of p. 177), confessing that he would have responded the same way as she did under similar circumstances.

Procris is satisfied by Cephalus' confession, Cephalus says, and comes back, " and so we spent delightful years
together'" (p. 177). She also gives him two gifts, "as though," he adds, "the gift of her sweet self was nothing," a
hunting dog Diana had given her and "the javelin you see here in my hands." This is the javelin that was the reason for
Cephalus' story in the first place, questions about which led Cephalus first to tears and then to tell his story. But we're
not going to hear about it yet.

First we get an intermezzo [a short interlude] on the hunting dog, which underwent a miraculous metamorphosis into
marble as it was pursuing the monstrous creature mentioned earlier that was ravaging the "herds and people" in Thebes
(pp. 177-178). Cephalus "fell silent" after he told about the dog, Ovid says (p. 178), and Phocus has to ask about the
javelin -- "prompt" him, as Ovid says (p. 178): "And the javelin? What could have been the matter with the javelin?"

This is a way not just of re-introducing the spear, but of highlighting it at the same time: This is the climax as well as
end of Cephalus' tale. The earlier break between Cephalus and Procris, caused by his silly and destructive testing of her
-- which Aurora had her hand in -- has been mended (p. 178): "...my grief began in happiness," Cephalus tells Phocus:
"What joy it is...to call to mind that blessed time, those days when we were fortunate, she in her husband, I in my wife.
We loved each other dearly...."

Cephalus is back to his old habit of hunting early in the morning, which he also loves dearly: READ p. 178, "I loved
hunting" THROUGH "Dear Aura!" Aura is the Latin word for breeze. Some malicious person, whose Latin is weak,
thinks Aura is (p. 179) "the name of a girl or nymph" and that Cephalus is having an affair with her, and this gossip
runs to tell Procris of Cephalus' infidelity.

Not only is the gossip's Latin weak, his mind is weak as well for accepting at face value Cephalus' bizarre habit of
talking to the wind in almost sexual terms. Procris is devastated by what the gossip tells her, "and would not believe it,
it would take more than a story to convince her,...she would not believe her husband guilty until she caught him in the
act" (p. 179).




                                                             9
She, at least, has some common sense. But it is her common sense that will help to do her in, for she goes out into the
woods to see if Cephalus is being unfaithful. Note the parallel -- not an exact parallel -- but a parallel, nevertheless, to
Cephalus' testing Procris in the first part of the story. READ p. 179, "Next morning, in the early light" THROUGH p.
180, "...died at peace." Ovid forgets -- or ignores -- that the spear, in addition to never missing its target, is supposed to
fly back to the person who threw it (p. 174). "The story end[s] with everyone in tears," Ovid says. King Aeacus enters
with soldiers and grants the alliance Cephalus had come to seek, and both the story and the book ends.

The German scholar Viktor P”schl observes that the outer, or first and third, parts of the story show correspondences
and parallels from the outset. And here are some of them:

Both parts begin with the recollection of happy love (p. 175, "Love joined me to her" [7.698] and p. 178, "We loved
each other dearly [7.800]). In the first part, P”schl continues, Cephalus, as though possessed by a demon, persists in
his effort to make Procris betray herself (p. 176, "What more could any sensible man have wanted? I was not satisfied,
I kept on fighting to wound myself" [7.737-740]), while in the third part, as an intentional contrasting parallel Procris
shows herself to be so deeply affected by the news of Cephalus' faithlessness that she collapses in helplessness, but
does not give up hope that it is all a mistake (p. 179 [7.826-834]).

That is, P”schl says, while Cephalus holds fast to his suspicion, although there is every indication that he deceives
himself, Procris refuses to suspect her beloved, although there is every indication that he really is unfaithful. When the
other's faithlessness seems to be conclusively confirmed, their respective reactions, P”schl notes, are totally contrary:
Cephalus attacks Procris in cruel triumph at the first sign of weakness (p. 176, "I made her hesitate, and then,
victorious, wickedly so, exclaimed: Ha, evil woman!'" [7.741-742]). Procris, on the other hand, dying from the
wound Cephalus has given her and convinced that he was unfaithful to her, yet recognizes, in what P”schl calls this
moment of her physical and spiritual destruction, her unshakeable love (p. 179, bottom to 180, top: "...and by the
bonds we shared in bed together, dearest husband, I beg you, if you ever had reason to love me as I love you, so much
so that my love has brought me to death, never allow this Aura inside our room!" [7.854-855]).

Just before she dies, however, Procris realizes that Cephalus was faithful, after all, and is reconciled, with what P”schl
terms a farewell gesture of her inner love (p. 180, "She fell back dying...and yet, her face seemed, almost, to be
smiling" [7.860-862]).

This observation leads P”schl to remark on the forgiveness and reconciliation that make a true rather than a contrasting
parallel at the end of the two parts, for in the first part Cephalus finally comes to realize, all too late, that in the same
circumstances as Procris (that is, is tested to the limit) he would have acted no differently (pp. 176, bottom to 177, top
[7.747-750]), that it was inhuman to demand of another person (even more so of one's wife) what went beyond his or
her powers.

P”schl notes the contrast between the brutality of a husband who, in a blind rage of jealousy humiliates his beloved and
violates and destroys their mutual happiness, and the gentle goodness and nobility of a wife whose love expresses itself
in limitless forgiveness. [OPTIONAL: Procris' loving nature is enhanced, rather than diminished, by her small
weakness (that is, her hesitation: p. 176 [7.739-740]), which only makes her seem more human.]

The couple's reconciliation, which enables them to renew their love and unites them even more after Cephalus admits
he has wronged Procris and begs for forgiveness, comes about only because Procris, the one who was injured, forgives.
P”schl notes that the spear Procris gives Cephalus, when she gives him her love again, she receives back again as a
death-weapon that pierces her breast. The spear thus becomes a symbol of love and death, the forgiving love she
grants and the death she receives, a symbol of the disaster that grows from an unusual love and from the demonism and
weakness that are inherent in human nature. It is Cephalus, unless we have forgotten, who narrates this tale about his
own brutality and his wife's forgiving love, and the manner in which he tells it, P”schl concludes, shows "the
purification through sorrow" that he has undergone. (For the foregoing see P”schl [1959] 338-342.)

Earlier I suggested that Ovid, by the way he presents the story -- he has Cephalus carrying around a most unusual spear
that has caused him untold grief, for he killed his wife with it -- by the way he presents the story is indirectly telling us
an even sadder story, a story that has to do with the psychology of Cephalus and thus human psychology: he is a man
badly wounded who doesn't want (or won't let) his wound heal, for that wound is his life, and if it healed, he would
have nothing to live for.


                                                             10
P”schl's idea of "purification through sorrow" is nicer -- less grim. If you like P”schl's idea better, you can then think
that Cephalus carries that spear with him to keep that process of purification through sorrow going. Many scholars and
critics have called Ovid's Metamorphoses an epic of love. I don't think that is quite accurate, although there are many,
many stories about some form of what we might loosely call love (that is, if we can include rape and incest).

But are there any happy ones? you may ask, any with couples happily loving and living happily ever after? Yes, there is
one, but we're not going to read it. Happy love is boring. Operas aren't made about happy loves, at least none that I
know of. But Baucis and Philemon are a poor but happy couple whose mutual love is a wonder to behold. You can read
about it toward the end of book 8, at pp. 200ff. In the opening lines of the story (p. 187), we learn that Daedalus is
"homesick for homeland" and he "hated Crete and his long exile there." That is, Minos, king of Crete won't let him go
home to Athens.

Daedalus had been exiled from Athens for killing his nephew, who is named Talos, son of Daedalus' sister Perdix, in
some versions of the myth, and is given the name Perdix in others, in a lost play of Sophocles [Kamikoi; see Gantz
1.262], for example, and here in Ovid. Ovid tells the story of Daedalus' murder of his nephew Perdix out of
chronological order, that is, right after he tells the story of Daedalus and his son Icarus and their flight from Crete: see
p. 189. In Ovid's version, the boy is changed in mid-air into a partridge, the Greek word for which is perdix, which is
why Ovid wanted to use that name for the nephew instead of the name Talos. Anyway, Daedalus has been exiled from
Athens and comes to Crete. We can pick up the story at that point from Apollodorus (3.1.3-4; G&H 139):

The sea-god Poseidon (=Neptune) sent Minos, king of Crete, a magnificent bull, which enabled him to win the kingship
of Crete (by proving he had clout with Poseidon) and which he promised the god he would sacrifice to him. But Minos
liked the bull so much that he sent it to his herds and sacrificed another. Now I'm quoting Apollodorus:

   Because he [Minos] had not sacrificed the bull, Poseidon in anger made it wild and aroused desire for it in Pasiphae
[Minos' wife, the queen of Crete]. In love with the bull, Pasiphae asked help from Daedalus, a master craftsman
banished from Athens for murder. He built a wooden cow on wheels, hollow on the inside and covered with the hide of
a cow. He placed it in the meadow where the bull usually grazed and instructed Pasiphae to get inside it. The bull
came and mounted it as though it were a real cow. She [Pasiphae] gave birth to Asterius, who was called the
Minotaur. He had the face of a bull but a human body. Minos, in accordance with certain oracles, kept him shut up in
the labyrinth. Constructed by Daedalus, the labyrinth was a large chamber with "a complex set of turns concealing the
exit."

Pasiphae, by the way, was the mother of Phaedra, who plays a major role in Euripides' play, the Hippolytus. Ovid
alludes to that story on p. 186, in the passage that begins (in mid-sentence), "but in his household" and continues for
several lines, through "...with devious aisles and passages," which I won't read but simply point out.

Our story begins on the next page, p. 187. Since Minos blocks Daedalus' escape from Crete by land or water, Daedalus
decides to escape through the air, by flying. Notice that he decides what medium to escape through (the air) before he
figures how to escape through it.

Now Daedalus starts thinking. As Ovid puts it (p. 187), "He turned his thinking toward unknown arts, changing the
laws of nature." James Joyce makes that line in Latin the epigraph of his novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
(1916), considered the first modern novel. The Latin is, for the record, [dixit et] ignotas animum dimittit in artes /
naturamque novat (8.188-189).

Joyce also names his character in that novel Stephen Dedalus, and carries him into his great work, Ulysses, one of the
wonders of 20th century literature. Stephen Dedalus, the struggling artist (who is Joyce), sees himself as trapped in
Ireland, as Ovid's Daedalus is trapped on Crete.

The story of Daedalus and Icarus, like so many stories of Ovid's, is about art, Daedalus' art, and the Latin word for art,
which is ars, is used several times in the story. (The Latin word combines the idea of our word art plus the idea of
craftsmanlike skill.) One point I want to make is that Daedalus, when cornered, when faced with what appears an
insuperable dilemma, creates a way out, creates a solution, which is an artwork.




                                                            11
Philomela, likewise cornered or stymied or unable to communicate what has happened to her, weaves her story in a
tapestry, an artwork, and sends it to her sister Procne. And Io was the first in the poem to do something like that, on a
very simple level: Frustrated at her inability to communicate with her father and sisters, you remember, she drew her
name in the dust with her hoof, the letters I and O.

That is the shortest short story on record: two letters, a name, drawn in the dust by the hoof of a heifer, but it tells
everything. The point is that often in the Metamorphoses an apparently unsolvable dilemma, unendurable frustration,
the inability to tell your story when you are desperate to tell it -- or to make a getaway when you're desperate to get
away -- a dilemma that causes anguish forces you into creating your way out of it.

Daedalus decides to make wings with feathers and wax for himself and his son Icarus. Notice, on p. 187, the detailed
description of the process of making the wings: READ p. 187, "He laid out feathers" THROUGH "...most surely."
Notice also the contrast between Daedalus and his son Icarus (pp. 187-188): "And Icarus, his son, stood by and
watched him, not knowing he was dealing with his downfall, stood by and watched, and raised his shiny face to let a
feather, light as down, fall on it, or stuck his thumb into the yellow wax, fooling around, the way a boy will, always,
whenever a father tries to get some work done."

And there is the ironic foreshadowing: "...not knowing he was dealing with his downfall...." Daedalus instructs Icarus,
warns him: READ #1, p. 188, "I warn you, Icarus" THROUGH "...follow my lead!" Daedalus is wise enough to know
the danger that Icarus is too young to be aware of, and his weeping and his trembling hands are a pathetic
foreshadowing (in contrast to the earlier ironic foreshadowing).

Then another ironic foreshadowing: "He kissed his son [parenthesis] Good-bye, if he had known it [parenthesis], the
two (ironic foreshadowings) enclosing the pathetic foreshadowing. Then they are off and flying. Almost at once the
scene shifts, cinematically, to the ground below ( p. 188), "Far off, far down," Ovid says, a fisherman, a shepherd, and a
ploughman, all working, look up "in absolute amazement, at those airborne above."

That scene-shift gives us a sense of height, of an up here and a down there and implicitly introduces gravity and the
awareness that what goes up must come down. Daedalus and Icarus are also in the realm, thanks to Daedalus' inventive
artistry, reserved for birds and the gods, and are taken to be gods by the astonished men working on the ground below.
And as they fly along, Icarus gets into it: READ p. 188 #2, "And the boy" THROUGH p. 189 "...named for Icarus."

Notice how fast it happens. The speed of Ovid's narrative imitates the speed of the fall of Icarus. Aristotle in the Poetics
says in the "perfect" tragedy Recognition and Reversal coincide: Recognition is Reversal. So it is with Oedipus in
Sophocles' Oedipus the King: When he learns who he is -- that learning is his reversal, his fall. For Icarus, the moment
of ecstasy ("This is wonderful!" p. 188) is his reversal.

At the literal height of that moment of ecstasy the wax on his wings melts, they fall apart, and he plummets into the sea.
Ovid uses the Latin word for "art," which is ars, several times in this short tale, on pp. 187, 188, and 189 [which note].
And again we have the linking of art and pain, suffering, or death (as with Arachne, Philomela, and others) in the poem.
Daedalus' art, born out of his desperate determination to leave Crete, kills his son, who cannot handle it.

End of part 2 of lecture notes for Ovid's Metamorphoses




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