Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Water is a recurrent image in Ovid's poem because it is constantly changing; in this way, water illustrates what Ovid sees as the fundamental truth about the cosmos: that it is constantly changing. One clear way in which water symbolizes change can be seen in the gods and goddesses associated with water. Water-gods – whether connected with the sea or with rivers – are typically described as shape-shifters. For an example of this, check out how Peleus met his wife, Thetis, in Book 11.