The Metamorphoses Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Allen Mandelbaum's translation, but these citations refer not to the lines in Mandelbaum's edition, but to the original Latin.
"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?