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.
And then the goddess
unleashed her rage; she struck her Grecian rival
at once: she sent a Fury to harass
poor Io's eyes and mind; she pierced her breast
with an invisible, relentless goad;
she drove the frightened girl across the world –
a fugitive. (1.724-727)
This is passage is only one of many like it in Ovid's poem. The common theme is blaming the victim. Juno gets mad because her husband, Jupiter, has been sleeping with some other woman, and she takes it out on the poor girl. This is especially unfair because, in most cases, the girl isn't at fault – usually Jupiter comes onto her through deception, or by making use of his overbearing divine power. Revenge is not the same as justice.
Now it had come;
there was no reason to delay: in sum,
her rival, adding wound to wound, had borne
a boy, Arcas. As soon as Juno turned
her eyes and angry mind to this, she cried: "As if I had not had enough, this, too,
was needed: you, adulteress, bore this fruit –
a son; the wrong you've done me now is known
to all – the living proof of how my Jove
behaved! But, shameless, you shall pay; I'll take
from you the shape that gives both you and, too,
my husband such delight." (2.468-475)
The same could be said for this passage as for the previous one. Ovid explicitly tells us that Callisto tried to resist Jupiter as he raped her. How is this her fault? How is it her fault that she got pregnant? Juno doesn't care. She just wants to lash out at somebody, and Callisto is the easiest target.
Men heard his fate – and disagreed: some thought
Diana was too cruel, too unjust;
while others said her action, though severe,
was worthy of a virgin so austere.
Both sides brought suasive arguments to bear.
And only Juno neither blamed nor cleared
Diana: she was simply glad to hear
that now Agenor's house had met disaster.
The rage that Juno's rival had provoked
was aimed at all who shared Europa's blood. (3.253-259)
Once again, Ovid shows that justice and revenge are not the same thing – or, at least, that there is strong evidence that they aren't the same thing. Sure, there are some people that it was appropriate for Diana to turn Actaeon into a stag and have him killed by his own hounds, but others think she overreacted. It wasn't Actaeon's fault that he stumbled upon her and her nymphs when they were bathing. But she doesn't seem to care; he suffers anyway.