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Theme of Exile in Io

Io is forced to leave her home of Argos to wander all over the Earth—that's definitely some exile. Eventually, she ends up far away from Greece on the banks of the Nile in exotic Egypt, never to return to her home. Yup, that's pretty much the definition of being exiled.

But wait. Might Io be exiled in another way? Not only is she separated geographically, she's also exiled from her own species. When she's turned into a white cow by Zeus, Io is exiled from her own naiad body. Unlike her geographic exile, though, Io actually gets to return to her naiad form in the end. Finally a win for this poor girl.

Questions About Exile

  1. Which do you think is a worse kind of exile: Io being driven from her home or from her species?
  2. Does Io deserve to be exiled? Why or why not?
  3. Are there any other characters in the story who are exiled in some way?
  4. In what ways does Io's exile affect her character?
  5. Check out the myth of Oedipus, and compare and contrast the theme of exile in that story with the theme in the story of Io.

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