Mythical epic “Metamorphoses” is a work by a Roman writer Ovid. It belongs to the middle phase of his literary work in which he wrote mythological poems, even though the influence of his first phase, in which he wrote love poetry, is felt.
“Metamorphoses” is consisted out of 246 stories of mythological thematic. The stories are about love troubles, have a lot of dramatic turns, betrayal, doubts and everything unrolls amongst gods. One of their special powers is the power of metamorphosis which allows them to transform into something else in order to get their revenge, get something they want or to transform other people and gods so they could punish them or ease someone’s tragic ending.
In “Metamorphoses” the gods’ lives, their rises and falls are being shown in a grotesque way. The relationships between them are dramatic and seldom have a happy ending because gods are by nature passionate, ruthless, prone to revenge and egoistic.
“Metamorphoses” have a clear, moral lesson because in them every flaw is being punished in some way, especially if that flaw is thoughtlessness. Every form of weakness, for example lack of own opinion, are shown in a negative way while the virtues like courage are always shown in the opposite way despite the fact that they are motivate with selfish intentions like revenge.
According to the Greek mythology only the souls of the dead could enter Had, the underground world, but still some living managed to get in. Between them was also Orpheus, a mythical singer, about what testifies the mythological story about Orpheus and Eurydice.
Had was entered through a cave. It is considered that the poets found the motivation for Had in the cave Aleportypa, that was the model for the myths about Had. Orpheus was taken to Had by unfortunate love. He wanted to get the soul of his wife Eurydice out of there. The story is in the Book 10.
Orpheus and Eurydice (Metamorphoses, Book 10)
God Hymen was present at a weeding after which he visited Orpheus but he brought bad luck so his wife Eurydice died soon after the weeding. Hymen held a torch in his hand that didn’t want to burn. Since the weeding of the Greeks and Romans was celebrated during the night, the bride was being accompanied with torches to the grooms house and if the torches weren’t burning it was a sign of bad luck in marriage. A poisonous snake bit Eurydice and she died.
Orpheus grieved for her and decided to go to the underground to see Persephone, he clarified why he had come to the underground and the reason was his wife that died young. He also mentioned that the god of love Amor, that rules the same in the underground and above, made them come together. Since their kingdom always overruled the human kind he begged them to give Eurydice a year to live because in the end she will always return to them. If they would have said yes, he would die. The rulers of the underground couldn’t say no to his demand and they called Eurydice.
Orpheus was then given the instructions on getting out of here. He wasn’t allowed to turn around and see Eurydice or otherwise she would go back to the land of the dead. Orpheus and Eurydice started walking in dead silence. They weren’t far away from the exit when Orpheus thought Eurydice might be running out of strength. When he turned around she disappeared. Orpheus reached out for her but he couldn’t grab her. Orpheus was devastated and he felt his body turning to stone. He was inconsolable and in vain he asked Charon to get him back to the underground. He sat on the shore filthy for seven days. Sadness and grieve were his food. After seven they he went for the Rhodope mountains.
Orpheus – Apollo’s and muse Caliope’s son who was a singer. He loved his wife deeply and felt sad after her death. With his persistence he wanted to bring her back to life so he goes to the underground. He begged the rulers of the underground to grant his wife one more year of life and he is proven to be an impeccable singer and speaker. He was happy when the rulers agree to do as he wanted but he forgot about the deal of not turning to see Eurydice until he left Had. Since he was scared about Eurydice being out of strength he turned around and lost her again. He was inconsolable in his love.
Publius Ovidius Naso Biography
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