The Metamorphoses Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
(Pythagoras): "And if you find these things amazing, strange, consider still another striking change – the way that the hyena alternates: now she's a female mounted by a male, and now becomes herself the male who mounts." (15.408-410)
According to modern biology, Pythagoras's claim about hyenas is untrue. But this doesn't matter very much, because Ovid's poem is a work of literature, where factual truth isn't really the point. What matters is how Pythagoras's claim fits in with the work as a whole. We at Shmoop think his remark is most interesting because it offers a parallel from the natural (i.e., non-human) world for some of the human sex and gender fluidity that happens elsewhere in the poem. What's your take?