Prayer and Power in Ovid's Metamorphoses
Bowen, Megan, Classics - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Miller, John, As-Classics, University of Virginia
Myers, Karen, As-Classics, University of Virginia
I argue that prayers for divine assistance in the 'Metamorphoses' emphasize and problematize the effects of power inequalities. I analyze how three particular factors—gender, cosmological status, and the way language is employed in a plea itself—influence the relative success of an appeal’s result for its beneficiary in the poem’s fourteen prayers for help (Deucalion and Pyrrha (1.377-80); Daphne (1.546-47); Syrinx (1.704); Cornix (2.577); Mercury disguised as a shepherd (2.699-701); Pentheus (3.719-20); Arethusa (5.618-20); Perimele (8.595-602); Mestra (8.850-51); Iphis (9.773-81); Caenis (12.201-3); Anius’ daughters (13.669); Acis (13.880-81); and Myscelus (15.39-40)). Typically, the greater the difference in power between those involved, the less obviously beneficial the outcome. The culminating effect of this pattern therefore invites us to think critically not only about the individual power differentials exhibited in each prayer, but also about systems of power more generally.
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Ovid, Prayer, Roman, Metamorphoses
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)