Simile and Identity in Ovid's Metamorphoses
Nulli sua forma manebat. The world of Ovid's Metamorphoses is marked by constant flux in which nothing keeps its original form. This book argues that Ovid uses the epic simile to capture states of unresolved identity - in the transition between human, animal and divine identity, as well as in the poem's textual ambivalence between genres and the negotiation of fiction and reality. In conjuring up a likeness, the mental image of the simile enters a dialectic of appearances in a visually complex and treacherous universe. Original and subtle close readings of episodes in the poem, from Narcissus to Adonis, from Diana's blush to the freeform dreams in the House of Sleep, trace the simile's potential for exploiting indeterminacy and immateriality. In its protean permutations the simile touches on the most profound issues of the poem - the nature of humanity and divinity and the essence of poetic creation.
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Achilles Actaeon action Adonis Aeneas Aeneid allusion amor anachronism anachronistic simile animal anthropomorphic Apollo artiﬁcial Atalanta audience Barchiesi battle bird body Bomer bull Caeneus Ceyx Ceyx’s character color compared comparison conﬂict context contrast Coronis Daedalus Daedalus and Icarus death deﬁning describes Diana disguise divine dreams ekphrasis emphasizes epic simile episode erotic Euripides Feldherr ﬁction ﬁctional world ﬁght ﬁgurative language ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnds ﬁrst ﬁts ﬂee ﬂight ﬂower focalization genre god’s gods Hardie Hecuba hero Hippomenes Homeric human Hyacinthus identity Iliad illusion imagery imagination interpretation Jupiter jupiter’s Lapiths Lichas literal look Lucretius maenads Mercury Mercury’s metamorphosis metaphor mirror image morphosis mortal myth Narcissus narrative narrator narrator’s nature Nestor Odysseus Orpheus Ovid Ovid’s Pentheus physical poem predator—prey quae quam reader reality reﬂection role sacriﬁce scene shape shows signiﬁcance simile’s Solodow status story tamen tenor and vehicle Tissol transformation Venus Vertumnus victim Virgil visual art