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The Metamorphoses Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why do you think Ovid decided to present this collection of myths as a linear narrative from the beginning of the world up to what was for him the present day?
  2. If Ovid wanted to present his collection of myths as a linear narrative history of the world, why did he stick in so many confusing flashbacks and flashbacks-within-flashbacks?
  3. In explaining the world as he saw it, Ovid combines mythological explanations with other explanations that draw on the scientific theories of his day (see our section on the Theme of "Science" for more details on how Ovid does this). Based solely on what you have read in his poem, which of these two worldviews do you think he found more convincing? Did he even see them as two separate worldviews?
  4. Ovid's poem depicts the thoughts and actions of a wide range of female characters. Some of these characters are essentially victims, while others are more like what we would today consider "strong women." Do you think Ovid's view of women is positive, negative, or somewhere in between?
  5. Why do you think Ovid's Metamorphoses has had such a powerful impact on subsequent literature and art?

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