Analysis of Bacchus in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Term Paper Example
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Ovid’s Metamorphoses is refined as a notable representation of the Roman culture not only in terms of their mythological understanding of the role of gods in their beliefs but also on the effects of these creatures in the thinking and behavior of their people. In a way, the characters of the story reflects more than just mythology, but also that of the instance by which humans react towards the different situations that they are supposed to deal with in their daily lives. Bacchus, the god of wine, son of Semele and Jove, was represented as an individual who has the authority and power to control others, nevertheless, was not given full appeal that would make the people respond to his given worth or godly value.
Bacchus, being the god of wine specifically imposes on the relative reaction of humans to intoxication [both positive and negative] and how such reaction pushes them to the edge of not being able to think well. In a way, this particular factor about Bacchus’ characterization insists on the manner by which humans become overly confident about themselves only to know that they are to lose their sensibility over wine and intoxicating liquor. At some point, the wine or the liquor does not only represent the alcohol itself, but the instance by which humans become less focused from the priorities they have set for themselves in their lives. Herein, Bacchus seems to rule and even decide on whether or not the humans would become negatively imposed on the liquor or be positively endowed by it. Nevertheless, having the attention on the capacity of the gods to direct humans is a mere neglect of the humans to decide for themselves, finding a way to put blame on the immortal who seems to have control over their lives. In the real picture, it is the humans who decide how they are to react to intoxicating liquor or how their attitude would transform because of it. Simply putting blame on the liquor itself is a mindless and careless consideration on the part of the individuals who actually engage in drinking such type of liquor.
Another aspect of relative characterization that Bacchus takes is the fact that although he was a god demanding worship and attention from the people he is supposed to rule, he was not able to completely get the attention and consideration of the daughters of Minyas. The neglect that they have for the festivals towards Bacchus shows how they still can decide for themselves as humans and not as mere followers forced to entice themselves into an inkling they do not even want to get involved with. Bacchus’ divinity has been questioned over and over in the different plots of the story. The division of the people in their belief of whether or not Bacchus should be recognized as a god who ought to be worshiped imposed that gods [in the Roman culture] were seen to only have the authority, but did not have complete power to manipulate the minds of the humans whom they wish to worship them. The pervasiveness of goodness of a particular persona in the Roman culture did not impose that every single god gets what he or she wants. Instead, this story shows that in Bacchus’ character, what mattered most is how the people recognized his divinity and how much willing they are to accept it.
How does Bacchus react? Like any other god, he resort to punishing those who do not support or recognize his divinity suggests his authority to do what he wants but not the power to control those who he wants to control. Even with wine, parties and excessive form of recreation as his come-on for those who he wishes to affect, he was powerless over those who intended to neglect his persistence in getting their attention. Transforming the daughters of Minyas into bats because of their continuous neglect of his being shows how the ones in authority get what they want through the use of violence, a matter that shows how powerless they are in terms of affecting the internal condition of the people they ought to influence.
In relation to real life and the current status of the society, the manner by which he specifically wanted to force his people to redefine their thinking towards the condition of accepting his divinity and worshiping him as a god that he knew he was, reflects how some authorities at present intend to use the power given to them to make sure that other people would follow them as they want to. The differentiation of the powerful and the oppressed is what is seemingly given attention in this part of the story. Having the authority is one thing, but properly using the power that comes along with it is another. The difference of Bacchus with other well-loved gods in the story is that his convincing approach was that of deception, pretention and enforced oppression of those who do not follow him.
In this way, Ovid was able to represent Roman gods to be authoritative with an ample given power to direct the people but never the capacity to push them to do what they want unless they are forced. This means that they do not have internal control of the people. What the people think and feel cannot be changed unless they do impose fear and violence among the immortals. Even though they are gods, they have been represented to have human limitations, somewhat representing the oppression that was evident in the Roman society during the time when the story was first written, published and released for the public to appreciate. Considerably, Ovid wanted to create a picture of functionary story that supported the mythological beliefs of the Romans while sharing an eye opener to the society as to what oppressions they are really experiencing from the authorities that are supposed to lead them and not force them into doing matters that they do not conform to.
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