Metamorphoses: The Dynamics Of Power
Author Ovid wrote Metamorphoses while in exile. Metamorphoses is a collection of miniature stories compiled together into a narrative of fifteen books. Metamorphoses means to transform. Throughout Metamorphoses the title comes to life depicting how two different species, human and Gods, interact with one another and how complex it was for the powers of Gods and the moral system of humans to live in a manner that have never been seen before. In these stories lies, manipulation, selfishness, and the thirst for power that shows two explicitly different dynamics fight for coexistence. Repeatedly, Ovid shows how the Gods/Goddess are emotional and they react based on how they feel opposed to what is right. As a result of being in an emotional state, the divine tend to abuse their power against humans.
For example, in the story of Apollo and Daphne, abuse of power is demonstrated by Cupid, the God of desire,attraction, and affection. Apollo manipulates Cupid causing Cupid to show how powerful he really is. To assert his power, Cupid shoots Apollo with an arrow to make him fall in love with Daphne and Daphne was shot with an arrow to reject Apollo’s love. Desperate for help,she asks her father “Help me, dear father! If your waters hold divinity,transform me and destroy that beauty by which I have too well pleased.” To get rid of her beauty and she was turned into a tree. Even after becoming a tree, Apollo still loves Daphne. Because Cupid abused his power to prove a point, it led to an undesired ending for Daphne.
In the story of Jove and Io, the God Jove and his wife Juno reacted off their situation and emotions and abuses their power. Jove starts to lust after Io. He even brings up the point that he’s a powerful God saying, “I am he who bears the celestial scepter in his hand, I am he who hurls the roaming thunderbolt don’t run from me!”. This portrays him as arrogant and entitled. Out of curiosity, Juno comes down to earth to see what’s going on. To hide his love affair, Io is metamorphosed into a cow. Juno’s suspicion and jealousy causes her to imprison Io and treat her badly.
In the story of Venus and Adonis, the abuse of power is portrayed when Venus, the Goddess of Love, changes a familial relationship into a romantic one due to her egotistical ways. Myrrha, a powerless human becomes a victim to Venus when she decides to punish Myrrha by swaying her into having unnatural romantic desires for her father because of her disbelief of the concept of love. Over the course of their relationship, Myrrha becomes pregnant. After Cupid accidentally pricks Venus with his arrows, she falls in love with Adonis who is a result of her abuse of power. The power of Gods could not be controlled through humans, but life has a way of getting even. Venus loses Adonis in the same manner that she lives by; love. Venus punishes Myrrah for not believing in love and being in love is the punishment for Venus. Because of Venus anger towards Myrrha, both of their lives were forever changed because of the abuse of her own power.
In each of the stories, the Gods abused their power causing innocent humans to suffer and undergo a transformation. This proves that the scale of power vs the unpowerful is inevitably unbalanced with little to no consequences or justice being served to those oppressed by those who cannot protect themselves. Power with no rules or consequences feeds the ego of the Gods because of their immorality so they have no respect for the lives of other beings.
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