Study Guide

Artemis and Actaeon Setting

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Forest; Secret Grove; Chiron's Cave

Everything about the setting for this myth is kind of, um, dank. Forests, groves, caves—there's a lot of wetness going on. Let's take a look at the main setting info we know:

  • We're in and around a forest near Thebes.
  • At the beginning of the story, we find ourselves on the outskirts of the woods, next to a large mountain. According to Ovid, this is Mount Cithaeron, which formed the border between Thebes and Athens.
  • It's hot out. This leads Actaeon to wander deeper into the forest, stumbling upon the goddess Artemis' hidden grotto, which features a shallow pool for bathing.
  • The grotto is a very safe, female-oriented place. So, when manly man Actaeon barges into this lady hang-out, Artemis does not react well.
  • Once he's been transformed into a stag, Actaeon runs back to the outskirts of the forest, where his dogs devour him.
  • Some say the myth ends in the cave of a wise centaur named Chiron, who makes a statue of Actaeon for the pups to gaze at.

While we might not think about the setting too much while we read, it's at the base of all the characters' actions and reactions. After all, if the main deed hadn't gone down at Artemis' grotto, the whole story would be different, right? Right.

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