Ovids From Metamorphoses, Essay Example

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Each of the stories in Ovid’s Metamorphoses show the result of human vanity as compared with the vanity of the Gods.  The transformations that are shown in the poems are meant to be symbolic of specific moral and philosophical principles.  In this regard, each of the tales expresses a truth that is based on ethical choice. There is a difference in the universe between mortal and Divine justice which was present from the beginning of Creation. The friction between mortal desire and Divine justice is the source of conflict, tension, and resolution in each of tales. In every case, Divine wisdom and justice are shown to trump human vanity adn human ambition.

The dualistic nature of the universe is described in the following lines: “substance forever changing,/Forever at war: within a single body” (Ovid, 22-23).  This duality in the universe also applies to the sense of justice which extends from conflict. The resolution of conflict contains a moral message; therefore each story in the cycle shows a moral truth based on conflict. In other words, there is a sense of “poetic justice” that permeates the stories.

In this light, love is viewed as an aspect of Divine power, where mistaking mortal love for immortal power is the root-cause of a tragic downfall. The “justice” of the stories emerge from moral lessons that are considered to be part of the eternal cosmos.   The concept of poetic justice that runs through Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” is based on the idea that people bring about their own tragic ruin. The poetic expression of that ruin reveals a greater wisdom, a cosmic harmony that touches all aspects of existence.  For this reason, the poems of “Metamorphoses” are optimistic musings on the inherently moral structure of the universe. In fact, the best way to express the concept of justice in the poems is to say that Ovid viewed justice as the underlying basis of the cosmos and moral insight revealed through poetic revelation  as the point of all human existence.

Work Cited

Ovid. The Metamorphoses.

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