Observations on Ovid

In the Art of Love, Ovid writes that “He who has enjoyed kisses, if he does not also enjoy other things, deserves to lose even those that were given to him.”  This whimsical line perfectly embodies much of Ovid’s verse:  playful and provocative to the very core.  Ovid was willfully suggestive in his writing, and he found himself in “hot water” in his own lifetime, as he was exiled from Rome in part (it seems) because of the controversial nature of his (often satirical and sexually-oriented) verse.  No one can be sure what happened to him after his death, but the great medieval poet Dante places Ovid in Limbo in his Divine Comedy, found in the first circle of hell in a “splendid school” of writers who lived before Christianity and thus cannot ascend to heaven.  But one might well wonder whether Ovid would have been divinely blessed had he been born at a later date, given the controversy and tumult he seemed to create/invite during his own day and age.  Bearing in mind the mixed reactions that have greeted Ovid for thousands of years, in this post I want you to offer your own two cents’ worth about this important and influential poet, a writer far more controversial than any others we have considered in Unit One.  What is YOUR impression of Ovid as a writer?  More to the point, how does he fit the overall arc of our study thus far in class?  In what ways do his works serve to continue and further cultivate key ideas and approaches to mythological writing that we have seen over the first few weeks?  On the other hand (and perhaps more importantly), what marks him as an author who is doing something different, something that pushes the very bounds of mythical writing and takes this generic type in new and fresh directions?  When answering such questions, it would be useful if you cited lines from his writing in order to illustrate and support your over-arching perspectives on the writer whose full name was Publius Ovidius Naso.

26 thoughts on “Observations on Ovid

  1. Ovid did not play around when he wrote about the world’s beginnings and personal writings between people. With his letter writings and metamorphosis, we were able to get a grasp of why this soul would be cast from the great city of Rome for his ideologies. Rome was very advanced in many cultural fields but they had strict limits on freedoms for it citizens and Ovid definitely pushed those limits.

    Starting with his Heroides, Ovid painted the picture of several of those left behind due to the men fighting in the war with the Trojans. Each of these stories calls on a different kind of emotion to being left alone. Penelope feels sadness and anxiety for Ulysses not returning to claim his land, Briseis feels anger and neglect after Achilles ignore attempts by many different people for her trade, and Medea who is just out of control. Ovid would definitely have gotten into hot water over his views of women during that time as they were belittling the men after war.

    Ovid’s metamorphosis ups the controversy with the actions of the gods versus the actions of man. Gods interfering with man is not new to our class but his depiction of how they help man is not just to keep order or to help their own affairs. The gods really just change the world to their whim, they interact with man in a manner that is not as glorified as they would have been in past Greek works. I say Greek because the Romans took a lot of their belief system from past cultures. Rape, immorality of women on display, and the striking down of people just for the lack of thanking a god for a bit of help are just some of the unjust, random things that the gods seem to do.

    Ovid made many different ideals that past Greek tales did not go into details. I cannot say that the older stories of the Odyssey or Aenead were morally correct by any standards but Ovid’s look into both the gods and the people’s lives shows his depth of understanding for sorrow and complexity. I would not say that his writings are my favorite. Yet what I did really enjoy his look into those mentioned sorrows. The gods did not impress me as much considering that we have discussed the questionable nature of gods in our class before. Gods aside, Ovid told stories that did not have to push the boundaries of the Romans but were necessary in showing the ethical and socially acceptable guidelines of the time.

  2. My impression of Ovid is that he was anxious to bring the reader the truth, or what he believed could very well be the truth. He did not shy away from writing about all different types of emotions that were being felt by his characters even when they were emotions that were not openly talked about in the societies of the time. I believe what makes Ovid different and controversial is the divulgence into the disconcerting and uncomfortable passions and feelings of his characters. In the Heroides, Ovid writes about the deepest, gloomiest and most pitiful sentiments of his characters. By writing in a way that puts all of his character’s emotions out there for the world to see, he too is putting himself in a vulnerable position, pushing the boundaries of what is accepted. He gives a different personality to each of the wives who are writing to their husbands, each representing a different way the situation of being abandoned could be handled. The wives Ovid portrays in the letters have a wide range of emotions ranging from Penelope, who Awaiting Ulysses return home writes to him still with a sense of hope and strength although not fully confident in the fact that he has not abandoned her for good, intentionally or otherwise. On the other end of the spectrum, Briseis writes to Achilles with absolutely no confidence in his love for her or his faithfulness and with little if any dignity left. Ovid seems as though he had no boundaries about what his characters were feeling which contributes to making his writings that much more realistic because human beings act on their emotions of jealousy, desertion, rejection, grief, disappointment and loneliness in a similar manner as the wives he writes letters from. The controversy could also come from the style of the Heroides because they are unlike anything seen prior to his writing and they essential create a new genre which will undoubtedly cause criticism and negative reactions.

  3. As a writer, I thought Ovid must have been very controversial and unique when compared to the time period in which his writings were first introduced to society. It appeared as though Ovid actually gave women a voice in his writings and even made them a central focus to his stories, despite the fact that the women were not always cast in the best light.

    As evidenced in other stories from previous weeks, women were again viewed as objects or play things for men and the Gods to do with as they please. In Book 1 of Metamorphoses, Apollo lusts after Daphne, who does not desire his affections. While in pursuit of her and attempting to rape her, Daphne pleads with her father to protect her from Apollo’s advances. Hearing his daughter’s request, her father transforms her into a laurel tree. Even though she is no longer a human being, Apollo still hears Daphne’s heartbeat against the bark and still desires her. He kisses her and continues to grope her and he says to her: “Although you cannot be my bride, you will assuredly be my own tree” implying that in some way, she still belongs to him.

    In Book 10, a group of women were introduced as prostitutes and Pygmalion, witnessing this, became disgusted by these women and desired to create his own perfect woman out of ivory. He falls in love with this ivory sculpture and it eventually becomes a real woman whom Pygmalion has a child with. Again, this part of the story exemplifies how women were perceived. Pygmalion desires the “perfect woman” and decided to craft his own version of this because there was no woman on earth who could possibly meet his standards due to their “immorality”.

    In the course text, the women Penelope, Briseis, and Medea are all given voices and stories that are focused on their perspectives and I thought this was a stark contrast when compared to the usual “male dominated” myth stories we have been so accustomed to reading. The extreme emotions of the characters definitely come through in the text but I do not view this as an attempt to portray women as simply emotional human beings. I actually think the true, raw emotion is what makes these stories more realistic and adds to the foundation of the myths themselves.

    I believe something that made Ovid different as a writer when compared to other authors was the fact that in the very beginning of the myth, Ovid requests that the Gods inspire him in the creation of his story. I thought this to be such a drastic difference when compared to other writers who were driven by the “influences” and “fates” of the Gods and here Ovid declares that he is going to alter all that in his writing “from the world’s beginning to the present day”.

    I could definitely see how this would have challenged society in Ovid’s time and led to his work being deemed controversial. My impression of him was that it seemed as though he tried to change the way myths were crafted by taking matters into his own hands and adding extremities of raw human emotions into his stories.

  4. Personally, I enjoyed reading Ovid’s poems more so than any other piece we’ve read thus far. Rather than take on the typical narrative style, his writing provided rich and deep emotions while giving the reader the personal connection that is felt through the form of a letter. Compared to the other authors we’ve read in this course, whose purpose was to deliver a story, Ovid intended to entertain the readers and focused much less on the history of the stories being told.

    It is not surprising that Ovid was banished for his writing during the time in which he lived because his writing reflected a new age of art and literature. Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece were not known for their ability to adapt to the changing world of art and society. They feared his new form of literature and didn’t want it polluting what they had already established as art. This is not to say that the main ideas in his poems were foreign to the writings of his time, it was merely his style that was a new phenomenon. His letters still consisted of incest, jealousy, forbidden love, and war; all of which remained popular themes throughout this part of history. But, these letters allow the reader to view the characters in the stories with a more familiar eye. The human emotions that the letters expose are no different than the human emotions that are felt today. That is what sets Ovid’s stories aside from the other authors in this course, the reader is able to feel the desperation in Phaedra’s heart when they read, ” I am beaten. So I beg you, I stretch out my loyal arms to your knees. Proper behavior? A lover doesn’t give a damn.” In my opinion, the letters allow the reader to not only take in the stories of Ancient mythology but takes it one step further and allows them to connect to this characters within the tale.

  5. I think that Ovid is an interesting and bold writer in a few aspects. In all of his writings he takes well known stories and tells them from the perspective of the female characters. He is also writes very passionately from their perspective. He really takes on the mood on the characters like Briseis’ letter to Achilles where she says “What sin did I commit that I now seem so cheap in your eyes, Achilles? Where has that fickle love fled so swiftly away from me?” (311).
    Ovid’s writing fits into the writings that we have studied in class by providing an account of the myths we have read from a different characters perspective. In the case of Odysseus who is trying to get home to his wife, Ovid provides an account of the story from Penelope’s point of view. At one point she is expressing her worry because no one can tell her what has happened to Odysseus. “We also sent to Sparta, but Sparta too had no knowledge of the truth.” (308). This approach also shows that there is a commonality between each myth, where the hero gets separated from their lover.
    What makes Ovid interesting and has him push the limits of writing myths in his time are probably not only the fact that he is taking the point of view of the women in the story. He also make them critical of the hero which is not often seen by having the hero painted as almost villain like in their eyes. In the opening of Ariadne to Theseus she says “I’ve found that every species of wild beast is less cruel than you; I’d have been better off trusting them.”(318).

  6. Publius Ovidius Naso was one of the great latin writer bringing literary life to Rome. He was as much almost as a historian as he was a poet and a writer. Men such as Ovidius i renowned for his work because he wanted to bring the reader to the truth. He wrote myths in a new kind of way describing them from more of a historical then fictional aspect. He was a man who cared about the reader and cared about what he was writing knowing people would look to these writing for centuries. Ovidius also brought the story to life by making the character in the story seem so real and touch the reader through his writings. In his writings he also allows you to see both sides of what characters are thinking and how individual ones feel about other through dialog, letters, and context of the scene he is portraying. Also he bringing his stories more to life by putting love into the story which everyone can relate to and there quest back to love almost making in some passage the hero seem like the bad guy through things he has to do to get back. He was famous for his works of abandoned love and transformed mythological thinking. One quote showing the interest in love and lose that he had was”So I can’t live either without you or with you”(Amores,pg39) showing the heartache of his stories and the theme of most of them.

    • I really like the quote you used to describe Ovid’s writings. It shows that his writings are still important today and that we still use some of his phrases. “Men… Can’t live with them, but can’t live without them.” This is a common phrase you will hear the catty woman at the office saying, and it is funny that the statement dates back to Ovid. Awesome quote to use!

  7. Overall I very much enjoyed Ovid’s writing. It was much easier to understand then some of the other texts. Not only was it easier to comprehend, but it was also very interesting. His style of writing is much more enjoyable and unique then some of the other writers we studied. The idea of having characters writing letters to other characters, expressing their emotions and thoughts during a time in the play, is enchanting. I also like the fact that this author addresses concerns that even modern day woman would have, proving his piece to be timeless. This timelessness is a big reason why so many people love him today, and possibly why so many people back then did not. He was ahead of his time in his writings.

    Ovid fits into the study of our class because he raises a lot of the questions we have talked about in class. He has Penelope express concern of Odysseys not wanting to come home, and wondering if he is with another woman. I like that Ovid provides more character and depth to the same characters we have already encountered. Like when he had Penelope say ” Yet, while I stupidly dream up fears, knowing the lust of you men, you could be ensnared in a foreign woman’s embrace!” That just goes to show that she is in fact thinking about these questions, that woman in the modern day would wonder as well, like I previously stated.

    Ovid pushes the boundaries of writing in his day. They are very sexually driven and romantically inclined. Phaedra to Hippolytus proves this. “Desire is upon me, more oppresive for having come late, I burn inside” and “You will be safe with me, and through sin you will earn praise, though people see you in my bed.” with these two qoutes, he is not only being very sexually forward, but also pushing the moral limits of people. He is saying that it is going to be okay for them to sin because their name and power will hid that fact that they’re sinning and people will turn a blind eye to it. Could he possibility be making an extremely political statement as well? That if you are high in the power you somehow get the privilege of having your sins overlooked. One last quote to look at is from Ariadne to Theseus, it is the last line of the letter and it says, “If I die first, at least it will be you who lays my bones to rest.” These letters, all of the ones from females to males, give the females power and freedom to express their thoughts. With the role of woman in the previous pieces we read, primarily being second to men, Ovid gives woman the ability to express their thoughts and basically allowing them to be equal to men. No other writer has allowed woman to speak so freely; perhaps this is a yet another reason people disliked Ovid and his writings.

  8. I personally like Ovid’s writing because it gives a different perspective from the women of these stories who are considered behind the curtain and expands on the stereotype of women during this time. I say behind the curtain in reference to the letters because these women are known only because of the male figures in their life. Their perspectives and feelings aren’t shown in the “typical” stories, but in the Heroides he gives them a way to voice their side. Giving women a voice and showing their raw emotions is pushing the Greek or Roman stereotype of women areas that isn’t the societal “norm”.

    In the letter Penelope to Ulysses, Penelope shows her raw emotion of anxiety while waiting for Ulysses to return to his land. She shows her anxiety when she says “Love is an emotion that’s full of anxious fears (Ovid, 307).” and “What I should fear, I don’t know. Yet I, out of my mind, fear everything, and my worries have many places in which to roam (Ovid, 308).” These two quotes show that her fears and anxiety is due to not seeing her husband return home to fix their land, but he is traveling around the world while she is suffering.

    In the story of Briseis to Achilles, Briseis shows the raw emotion of anger and betrayal by Achilles. She shows both emotions when she says “All of this – the price you should have paid to Atreus’ son to buy me back – you refuse to accept! What sin did I commit that I now seem so cheap in your eyes. Achilles?” The fact that Achilles was too ignorant to cave into the deal to buy back Briseis, who gave up pretty much everything for him, she couldn’t contain herself from feeling this way.

    In the letter of Medea to Jason, you see Medea’s raw emotion of rage and impulsive nature due to Jason leaving her for another woman. Her actions not only show these emotions of murdering so many including her own children but also when she says referring to Jason’s new wife “She will weep, in flames that will exceed the heat of my passion…no enemy of Medea will go unpunished (Ovid 327).”

    The letters and Ovid’s Metamorphoses shows two main concepts; passion and of course the typical interference of the gods in mortals lives. The passion whether it be driven by love or desire it was strongly shown through example of Apollo raping Daphne and the interlocked story of Pygmalion. Pygmalion desires the perfect woman so much that he fell in love with an ivory sculpture who then turned into a real women. The story of Pygmalion also extends that the passion for love affects everyone including the gods and goddesses, like Venus. Passion can also be viewed in a negative way as well like when Jupiter’s infidelities with the nymph Io are known to Juno. Her love and passion for Jupiter drive her to take brutal action against Io.

    I believe that all the emotions between both the letters and the Metamorphoses are driven by passion. Like how I previously stated passion can go from both end of the spectrum, from love to hate. It plays apart of both Roman and Greek myth stories which Ovid shows in his writing more than the other writers.

  9. The most famous Roman poet Ovid has been one of the more controversial writers since he first published his poems in the golden days of Augusts’ Rome. He not only writes what he feels, which I am sure that others have done both before him and those that came after, but also writes with a sort of disregard for what others may think of him. This led to his works being considered lewd and controversial in the eyes of the divided Roman people with some loving his pieces and others despising his new interpretations and ideas on older myths and even on love. Personally I feel that Ovid is a brilliant writer, capturing the torment of emotion in his letters from famous heroines to their loves, both whom loved back and did not (poor Ariadne…). Not only this, but Ovid wrote the guide to pre-courtly love courtship. He was the everyday man’s “Hitch” for anyone who know’s the film. Most importantly of all the real reason to study Ovid and why I think he is a fantastic writer is getting those different perspectives on our famous Greek heroes from days long past. Making you really feel for Ariadne as you slowly realize that she cannot overcome the loneliness from Theseus’ desertion or even the cunning wit of Penelope (often thought of as the female version of her husband, only second in cunning to Pallas herself) through her words of devotion inspire great thoughts on characters previously seen as either insignificant or even boring. Ovid’s creativity and style are unique and coupling that with the writings he has created and there is no better from his time.

  10. Ovid is unlike any Greek or Roman writer we’ve read so far. Although he uses the literary traditions of Greek myths, he pretty much creates a new genre. He takes a different approach to mythological writing by revealing the previously unexplored female voice. Ovid further developed significant elements of traditional mythical writings from a feminine point of view more than any other ancient writer we’ve explored this unit. In Heroids, a series of letters where Ovid writes from the perspective of well-known mythological women, the audience is introduced to the inner thoughts and feelings of Penelope, Briseis, Phaedra, and Ariadne. One of the most interesting of these letters is Ariadne’s to Theseus. It takes place after she is abandoned on Naxos by Theseus after saving him from the labyrinth. Not only did she lose her love, but she was deserted by him with no way to escape or survive. What I liked about this letter is even though she is only mortal, she doesn’t back down and sasses Theseus, an almighty god. She reminds him of the promise he made to her to be ‘his’ for all their lives and basically calls him a liar when she says “Well, we are still alive, Theseus, and I am not yours – if you can call / a woman buried by her treacherous husband’s fraud alive” (320, 75-76). She goes on to call him ‘wretch’ and ‘cruel’ and says he has an ‘iron heart.’ This anger Ovid portrays from the perspective of a woman shows him as a writer who took the mythological genre in a new and unique direction.

  11. The writings done by Ovid put a new perspective into myth that we have not yet seen in this class. First he focuses on the female character and more importantly on the emotions that they are feeling. He was the first author to do this and faced a lot of criticism for it. Ovid does a great job of showing the different emotions that women where feeling. These emotions were never mentioned in the original stories. I thought it was very interesting reading about the same stories we have previously read but through a female characters perspective. In particular I was most interested in the story of Penelope. In this story Penelope deals with many emotions. One of these is fear “What should I fear, I don’t know”. (308, 71). She also shows loyalty and compassion in saying that she will not follow her father’s wishes to remarry, “I am yours and should be spoken to as such” (308, 830). In the end she says she will wait for his return. Ovid does a good job of balancing different emotions that women are feeling during this time period. These poems show a different side of myth for this time period, and I believe makes them interesting.

  12. Looking back, it is not shocking at all to see how Odin’s work could be seen as controversial and risky. However, he being controversial doesn’t take away from his writing. If anything, it adds a flare that wasn’t common among other writers of the time and adds to the history of that time period and his work as a whole. He, like Homer others, wrote an epic poem that deals with mythology which is how he fits into our class. I feel that he is more focused on the human element of the characters rather than the action, like when he writes about Achilles’ slave and wife who was taken. As stated before, he is controversial and a little inappropriate for lack of a better word. An example of this is in book ten when Adonis is killed by the boar and the text says “as he attempted to flee for his life in sheer terror it sank its tusks deep into the young fellow’s privates”. Of all the ways for the boar to kill Adonis, it is from being gorged in the privates, which shows the nature of Odin’s writing very well.

  13. Ovid’s controversialism and individuality shines through in his writing and at some times can be quite questionable; this is foundation for my admiration of him.
    I could tell immediately that his writing would be different. In the letters taken from Hesiod he does the unorthodox action of taking characters that were in some cases thrown to the way-side (e.g. Briseis) and becomes the voice for them. In all of the letters he elaborates on the WOMEN’S stories, which in it and of itself is a feat for the time. Ovid—to me—poetically captured the women’s personalities, and you could instantly pick up on the emotions that was seething out of their letters which is sometimes left to be desired in the other author’s works that we’ve discussed. Penelope’s letter had obvious melancholy overtones; her lamenting turned to indignation which turned to begging. Briseis is angry because of her abandonment which then evolves into other peculiar emotions. And then there’s Medea, who says quite diabolically: “I burned with a fire that I had not known before, like a pine-torch blazes before the mighty gods.” She is a psycho. Overall, it was amazing how with each letter Ovid portrayed different perceivable emotions which cast different vibes to the letters.
    It is interesting how Ovid went from the serious letters to the satiric nature of Metamorphoses. Ovid starts off like the usual mythological creation story but then rather comically adds things like “Now when that god (whichever one it was)”. This is contrary to what we have previously read where the author usually enumerates in great detail the gods and such that partook in the creation. Undoubtedly some zealots of the time considered Ovid’s writing blasphemous. There are many comedic elements in Metamorphoses that is not really found in the works of Homer and Virgil (though they deviated in other important ways) e.g. Jupiter’s folly, Apollo groping a tree, Pygmalion’s statue etc. Ovid clearly differed in so many great ways then what we’ve seen thus far.

  14. The controversy in this poets writings are definitely clear, and I can see how he may have been exiled from Rome in his day. Although, I do believe that his works were not only important during this time but nessesary. Not everyone is going to like what people have to say but I believe he pportrayed important prospectives of influenctial women during the period of Greek and roman myth. I think he captures the ideas that behind every great man there was a great woman that helped get him there.
    I believe these poems were meant to tell the story outside the story, they captured the feelings and the emotions of the powerful women to the Heros in these stories. Take Penelope for instance, the impression I got when I first read the story was that she didn’t really care about her husband away at sea, she had all these suitors and her reaction isn’t portrayed very well, now in her letter to him you can see all the pain, grief and fear in her, and depicts her as begging and pleading for him to come home. It completely changes the diynamic of the story, now as a reader it changes my perspective of their relationship and makes me reconsider what I previously thought of the hero Ulysses.

  15. To begin with, I was actually more interested in the style of Ovid’s writing in the passages. It is interesting to observe that the mythological aspect of his poetry is very much so based off love. You can understand that like any myth, having the epic hero, that in Ovid’s poetry, it seems that there is a heroine and a lover and that may be where the tragedy can be caused.
    Having said that Ovid’s writing is one of the most noticably different style’s of writing of myth, it is important to also note that Ovid was during a much different time period, so therefore I feel that he was writing in a much different mind set.
    The one thing I do like about Ovid’s writing is that he does give women a lot of credit. In most of what we have read recently, females, unless they are goddesses do not have control, or even a say over things most time. I enjoy how in Ovid’s writing that women are respected and given credit to.
    Although Ovid’s writing was definitely of a much different style of writing, it was definitely interesting to be getting a feel for something different in the nature of his writing, and what he discusses.

  16. Ovid brings a whole new aspect of writing; he starts by writing about love and perspectives of women at the time. He picks and chooses what he wants to focus on and is really descriptive of how women loved their significant other. Although they aren’t treated with the up most respect we can still see how these women truly adore their lovers. There is some reference to treating women as property and Ovid goes in depth how these women feel, giving new insight on how other people are doing while others part take in their wild adventures. It’s remarkable to see a writer to take interest and publicize women’s side of the story, many are supposed to overlook women’s role in many epics and this perpetuates negative views on women.

  17. Reading Art of Love, Ovid brings a whole new type of writing to poems. These poems are nothing like the previous ones we have read in class. After reading and examining his poems, I have realized that he involves women in his poems. While reading the other writings in class, they would talk more about the men and their achievements or battles that they were going through. The other material that we have also read, would talk about women in more of a negative way, where Ovid does not really talk about women negatively in his works of writings.

    Cupid strikes both Daphne and Apollo. Daphne is in love with Apollo, but reading this excerpt it states “One is in love now, and the other one won’t hear of it, for Daphne calls it joy to roam within the forest’s deep seclusion, where she, in emulation of the chaste goddess Phoebe, devotes herself to hunting; one ribbon only bound her straying tresses” ( Publius Ovidius Naso. Line 657-662).

    Daphne’s father also states that he would like to have a grandson, with her. Daphne explains to her father that Diana’s father had let her stay a virgin and that is what Daphne wants as well.

    Reading Ovid’s pieces, were very interesting and different from the rest of the writings we have read so far, this semester. It is very interesting how he wrote, and it changed the readings up from the one’s we have previously read.

  18. Personally, I like the way Ovid writes his poems. They are a little different then the epics, and other readings we have had to cover so far. Although he was banished from Rome, I feel like he was still a very popular writer. Maybe if he had been born a more modern time his work would of been accepted a little differently, but his work is remembered some two thousand years later.

    I do like how he involves the heroines, and other women into his poems more. When reading other plays, you don’t get a sense of what the women or wives think, because back then, it was a man’s world. But like in his story of Briseis to Achilles, it really emphasizes her anger and grief when she was taken from Achilles and he did nothing and planned to sail home because of it. So you get her opinion on the matter at hand and you can feel then pain she has bottled up over the time during which her family has been killed and her city is being destroyed.

    I think Ovid is a very passionate writer, some one today like him would be a romance writer, and so he is kind of the first romance writer, and originally is not accepted.

  19. Ovid starts off the world in all seriousness and standard, showing not single chuckle or grin in the crowd, but as soon is possible with the dire straits of Apollo calling Cupid a lesser god not worthy of the bow he wields so starts the mischief. To say this might be some of the earliest written sex jokes put to story might be true, I can’t say for sure as I have only so much so there might have been earlier works that simply lost out to those serious fellows telling tales of woe and the founding of Rome, kill joys that they are. Could it be said that this looks down on women, sure it could but this comedy and to say that comedy was meant to be endearing or nice is to speak not of comedy but of a farce which speaks of blatant naivete. Comedy is speak the truth of thoughts which bring a smile to the bitter masses and this truth is horrible and offensive but still entertaining to a fault.

  20. I liked how Ovid’s writing is different and unique compared to the other writers in unit one. His risky topics are what makes his work stand out among the others. He takes a different viewpoint on stories, rather then just write the same old story as it was told. He fits into our study because he does write about characters and stories that other authors have written during this time period.
    I love how he writes about the women’s viewpoints on the stories. In other plays and poems during this time period, they only write about the hero’s or a man’s perspective. Never have they written about a woman’s view. And if they did write about a woman, there was usually something wrong with her. Ovid makes the women seem strong and have a viewpoint. The women are not just extras to the plot-line. In Briseis to Achilles it states, “It’s safer to lie in bed with a girl in your arms and to strum the Thracian lyre with your fingers than it is to have a shield on your arm, a spear in your hand, or a helmet on your matted-down hair.” This shows how the man is weak instead of a woman. In this story, Briseis is complaining to Achilles about how he has not saved her yet.
    If Ovid were to exist now, I feel that his works would have fit better than back then. I feel that his writings are more of a contemporary approach that someone in this day and age would have written. The way he goes about a different viewpoint reminds me of the way contemporary writers write about a twist on a fairytale. Reading his works let us take a break from reading other writings of the same old style.

  21. My opinion on Ovid as a writer is that he is incredibly descriptive and realists when pertaining to love. I like how Ovid sort of shocks common peoples perspective on some of the most conventional Greek mythical stories. Such as the story of Odyssey’s wife Penelope, the story of The Odyssey is mostly told in the “dominate mans” point of view, never really focusing on what the wife in this story has to go through. In the book “Anthology of Classical Myth” Ovid basically shows Penelope in a new light than what the traditionally Greek story did before. Another detail that I enjoy in Ovid writing is his metaphor that fulfills things that people is todays society actually believe in. For example his phrase in Penelope letter to Ulysses states that “Love’s an emotion that’s full of anxious fear” (306). That one quote explains Ovid completely, no wonder why his writing were considered “controversy” and “tumult”; his work probably cause most people great discomfort. However, you can also assume that his poetry also cause others to think about the women’s perspective. Which is why I feel as though he has to be one of the most important mythological writers that we will be disusing in this class. Being different and making a change any way you can is always something that important and essence for the growth in literature.

  22. I am a fan of Ovid. He is not afraid afraid to speak his mind and most of the time, the truth. He was unique and he did not care what people thought about him and I admire that. That is why the people of Rome were divided. A lot of people despised his writing and there were many people who admired it. Through all of that, he did not let other people’s opinions affect his writing. Ovid wrote masterful poems that were unique to that time period. His poems always focused around women.The way he brought the characters to life describing their thoughts and emotions toward each other was brilliant. No one before him has ever focused on love and women’s feelings like that. All of the other poems and pieces we have gone over, women have not played major rolls. Ovid gives a great perspective of a women during that time period also. We are so used to reading about men and what men thought, rather reading about the women. One part that was striking and unique to me was on page 652. Ovid opens up the paragraph by stating, “But male gods are not the only sexual agents in the poem; women and goddesses, too, can be overwhelmed by desire, and can themselves become sexual predators.” No matter how twisted that sounds, it is true. He lived for that. He lived for stating the truth in a way people may hate to accept. That sentence is very striking and unique to anything we have gone over and anything to that time period. Men were only known as the sexual predators, but as we now know, that is not that case. The controversial content in the writings is what makes Publius Ovidius Naso a true master at his craft.

  23. Ovid has a very different writing style from, say, Vergil. His prose feels unorthodox, and almost whimsical, to the point that I find the Roman Pantheon closer to laughable in a really weird way. He talks about creation myths and the forging of the lands and Earth by the gods, reinforcing concepts of myth introduces earlier. He also shows us the interactions these gods not only have with the mortal, waking world and its inhabitants, but the heavenly body above and the heavenly bodies that inhabit it.
    As far as an author doing something different, he has a line where he says the Gods, (whichever one of them) which I found to be interesting. He’s essentially waving his hand dismissively as he says this in my mind. Again, I feel this plays to a whimsical style of writing, when most people take not only the Gods but works of writing and art seriously. If this is meant to be some sort of explanation for the Gods, and not only the God’s creations and its world, it’s almost a slap in the face. In many ways, I find his story telling to be comedic.
    That said, he also appears very hedonistic. The Gods aren’t too different from the typical high school student: they’re all lusting after one another, and those around them. Juno rapes a woman and turns her into a cow: which is typically of Zeus, who he is based upon, but that is aside the point. I feel as though where the Greek gods were fearful and powerful, serious forces of nature, maybe with quirks, that were to be reckoned. Again, the only thing I can think of for the Roman Gods is clumsy. And if that is what Ovid was going for: he did a great job.

  24. I very much enjoyed the writings of Ovid. Especially in his letters from Penelope, Medea and Briseis, as he is able to display emotions found deep in the heart so well. I found the content of these letters to be so real and heart breaking, because a lot of the fears and issues the women have in the letters are ones that people have everyday. With these letters he offers a unique yet realistic perspective of classic myths which are heart wrenching. A big reason as to why they are unique is because they are focused on a woman’s thoughts and feelings, as apposed to a patriarchal view. That alone could give a clue as to what made Ovid a controversial writer of his time. Sympathizing with a woman’s woes in that era most likely made others angry or uncomfortable.

    One of the things that grabbed my attention was when he was telling the story of the creation of the Universe, he wrote “Now when that God (whichever one it was).” I wondered when I read this if he was mocking, or something along the lines of mocking, the way Romans thought the way the Universe came to be. It wouldn’t surprise me, as Ovid seemed to be the type of man who embraced the truth.

    Ovid did put in his work many events and ideas which were more than likely things that were unspeakable back then. They include rape, incest, and detailed gruesome events. It is easy to see now why Ovid was controversial, because those topics are still controversial today.

  25. Ovid’s unique spin on mythological writing contributes a great deal to these well-known stories, although in an unconventional and cynical way (something I very much enjoy). His versions add more meat to the common hero story and provide relief from the predictably outlined stories of most myths. By giving the underlying women characters a real voice, (a rare thing in this kind of writing) not only does he provide insight into the possible character of these women, but simultaneously offers sly, some-what discreet critiques of their men who are commonly known as “heroes”. Ovid’s unique take on perspective also contributes to the many common themes of various myths – such as lust, sin, the pain of love, loyalty, and desertion.

    Through the letters, Ovid does not stray from myth’s common portrayal of women as highly emotional, desperate, and sometimes irrational creatures, but at least manages to give them some sort of power. Their power lies within their criticism of the men they write to, which offers truthful insight to the sins, weaknesses, and bad character of these men who are supposed to be “heroes” (something I am sure contributed to the controversy behind his writing). Briseis, for example, portrays Achilles as a coward hedonist, who would rather lie in bed with another woman than fight to get her back, because “fighting brings pain, while the cithara, night, and Venus bring pleasure” (lines 115-116). Ariadne depicts Theseus as a traitor and a liar for abandoning her on an island after she saved his life and he promised himself to her forever, stating “I do not entreat you by the help I gave you, for I do not deserve any credit for what I have done. But I do not deserve punishment either” (lines 141-143). The letters show that these women are not oblivious, contain wisdom, and (aside from Phaedra) are extremely loyal. However, instead of ending almost every letter with the women begging for the men who deserted them to return, I would have enjoyed at least one in which the woman writing realized she was better off.

    Because these letters are not written for the purpose of telling a train of events but rather the emotion behind them, Ovid contributes to the themes of myth in a more amplified way. Phaedra’s letter to Hippolytus describing in detail how her desire for him allows her to forget family, respect, pride, and nobility is dripping with lust and suggests its power over people. Ariadne’s account of waking up to an empty bed and frantically searching for her lover, only to realize she’s been left behind is an intense depiction of the theme desertion. How better a way to present Loyalty, another big theme in mythology, than through Penelope’s description of her faithfulness in her rejection of many handsy suitors, despite her father’s suggestions and her doubts of Ulysses’ love? Clearly, Ovid realized the potential that lies within the thoughts of those that are usually forgotten or ignored; he was not afraid to give them a voice for the sake of his writing, as well as mythological writing as a whole.

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