Journal 24

Journal 24 - crossing the river where Nessus is carrying...

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Within Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Ovid retells many myths that are common to all the Greeks and he tells them in a certain way where many different scholars could interpret them in a number of ways. I am interested in the first three stories of Book IX containing the deeds of Hercules and how they could be interpreted. On the first page of Book IX, we are told that Hercules has not yet become a god and we know strictly from Greek myth that Hercules becomes a god after completing his 12 labors. This does not seem so interesting but I would like to direct the attention to two different scenes in the first three stories. As Hercules is defeating Achelous, who then becomes a snake, Hercules says, in my own words,” Why have you become a snake? There is no point noting the fact that I have already killed the Hydra. You will surely die.” From before, we know that the only time Hercules fights the Hydra is when he is on his way of becoming a god during one of his twelve deeds. A similar situation happens when he is
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Unformatted text preview: crossing the river where Nessus is carrying Deianira, Hercules is burdened with both his quiver and the lions skin, which comes from one of his twelve deeds- the killing of the Nemean lion. With these two scenes, I pose that they can be interpreted by the Creative Era Theory by Mircea Eliade. Ovid includes the two deeds before we actually know all twelve of his deeds because it recreates the liveliness, emotional, and entertainment aspect of the myth. If a Roman were to hear the myth as this- Hercules has killed many snakes before and you will be another or Hercules has a skin of animal on him- no emotion is evoked from them and the reader would not be interested. People would not want to hear the story told like that over and over again but if they hear of a monstrous 9-headed snake or a gigantic, ferocious lion, the myths will not get old and will continue to recreate the vividness of the scene just as it did hundreds of years ago....
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This note was uploaded on 05/31/2011 for the course CLAS 131 taught by Professor James during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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