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The Metamorphoses

The Metamorphoses

by Ovid

Love Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

(Deucalion:)
"How would you feel, sad heart, if you'd survived
the fatal flood, but I had lost my life?
How would you, all alone, have borne the fear?
With whom would you – alone – have shared your tears?
For if the sea had swallowed you, dear wife,
I, too – believe me – would have followed you
and let the deluge drown me, too." (1.358-362)

The story of Deucalion and Pyrrha contains one of Ovid's sure-fire signs of true love; both members of the couple are convinced that they can't live apart from each other.

Quote #2

What should [Jupiter] do?
It would be cruel to consign his love;
but if he kept her, he would just raise doubts.
On one side, shame keeps urging: Give her up.
Love, on the other side, insists: Do not.
Love could have overcome his shame, but if
he should refuse so slight, so poor a gift
to one who was his sister and his wife,
he'd have to run a disconcerting risk,
since Juno could conclude that, after all,
this heifer was no cow. So, in the end,
the goddess got her rival as a present. (1.617-621)

Uhh, so how about this example? Any signs of true love here? Well, Ovid does claim that it was love that was holding Jupiter back…on the other hand, we at Shmoop think the fact that Jupiter turned Io into a cow in the first place didn't speak well for the future of the relationship. Your take?

Quote #3

Apollo does repent – but it's too late:
A lover, he now hates his harsh revenge;
he curses his own self for having let
his anger lash; he hates the bird who forced
upon him knowledge of the crime that brought
such grief; he hates his bow, he hates his hand,
and, with that hand, he hates his hasty shafts.
He tries to warm Coronis' lifeless body;
he turns in vain to useless remedies,
the arts of medicine – as if he could
inflict defeat on death. No thing could help;
and when Apollo saw that they were set
to light the pyre, to let the final fire
consume Coronis' flesh, from his heart's depth
the lover moaned (but did not weep, for tears
must never bathe the faces of the gods) (2.612-624)

The context of these lines is that Apollo has just killed his girlfriend, Coronis, after a raven told him that she had been unfaithful. By modern standards (which we at Shmoop wholeheartedly agree with), Apollo's act is unspeakably evil. And yet, Ovid doesn't leave things at that; he also shows us how Apollo is consumed with grief for what he has done, and tries to take it back (of course, it's too late). Can we possibly say that Apollo truly loved Coronis? If yes, what might Ovid be telling us about the relationship between love and hatred? If not, how would you characterize Apollo's emotions towards her? Is he driven by simple possessiveness?

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