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The Metamorphoses Revenge 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.

Quote #7

But now the Thracian women – all had cast
the hides of beasts around their frenzied breasts –
down from a high hilltop, spied Orpheus
as he attuned his lyre and his sweet voice.
And one of these – hair streaming loose beneath
light winds – cried out: "He's there! The man who dares
to scorn us." Through the air she hurled her staff
against Apollo's poet; it was meant
to smash his singing mouth (11.3-8)

In this case, the Thracian women (Ovid really seems to have it in for the Thracians) take revenge on the singer Orpheus because he won't satisfy their sexual desires. Not that he would be under any obligation to do so in any case, but his death seems especially unfair since he is remaining chaste out of grief for his dead wife, Eurydice. (In Greek, Eurydice's name means "Wide-Justice"; does this emphasize the contrast between her and these flagrantly unjust Thracian femmes-fatales?)

Quote #8

"Why must I open bitter wounds that time
had hidden, if not healed? I now confess
my hatred of your father, my deep sense
of harm and hurt he caused me. By the gods,
his deeds were glorious, beyond belief!
I would prefer to cancel – if I could –
the merits and just praise that he received,
the fame the world proclaimed (I can't deny
the truth). But we don't praise Deiphobus
or Polydamas; nor do we extol
even great Hector – who would praise a foe?" (12.542-548)

Nestor's attempt to get revenge on Hercules, who killed his siblings, is a kind that Ovid can approve of. By refusing to praise someone, one enacts a kind of revenge against their memory – a power that a poet, especially, would relish. Still, Nestor remains sensible. Shortly after these lines, Nestor tells Tleptolemus, Hercules's son, that his beef is only with his father; his hatred remains within reasonable limits. Nestor's wise self-control stands in contrast to, say, Procne, who gets back at her husband by striking at his (and her) son.

Quote #9

[Apollo] can see,
amid that slaughter, Paris aiming shafts
from time to time against a crowd of Greeks.
Revealing his identity, Apollo
asks: "Why waste arrows killing common folk?
If you are so devoted to your Trojans,
then aim your shafts at Peleus' son: avenge
your slaughtered brothers." So Apollo said,
and then he pointed out just where Achilles
was felling many Trojans with his lance;
the god turned Paris' bow in that direction;
and when the shaft was shot, Apollo guided
the well-aimed arrow with his deadly hand. (12.598-606)

When Apollo wants Paris's help in killing Achilles, he wins him over by appealing to his desire for revenge.

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