Study Guide

Glaucus and Scylla Transformation

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You've got bunch of transformations in this story, for sure. First, there's Glaucus, who starts out as a simple fisherman, only to be transformed into an immortal merman, after he eats some magic herbs. Glaucus' life goes through a pretty major sea change after this. Not only is he no longer a mortal, he must now spend every single second of his immortal life in the watery world.

Glaucus is transformed again when he spies Scylla naked on the beach. This time, though, he isn't transformed physically; he's transformed by love. He goes from a content life as a sea god, to being a tortured soul, desperate for the affection of the gorgeous nymph.

The final transformation in the story happens to Scylla, after Circe's potion takes its evil toll. Scylla goes from being a gorgeous sea nymph to being a horrible monster with a pack of snarling dogs sprouting from her lower body. This physical transformation also transforms Scylla's personality, and she spends the rest of her years, bitterly devouring whatever sailors get up in her grill.

Questions About Transformation

  1. How does Glaucus' love of Scylla change his personality?
  2. If you were told that you could live forever as long you signed off on becoming a mer-person, would you decide to be immortal? Would it be worth it to you? Explain your answer.
  3. Which kind of transformations do you think are bigger: emotional or physical ones? Explain your answer.

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