Amores by Ovid: Use of the Domina Amoris and Servitium Amoris

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  • Topic: Don Quixote, Western world, Western canon
  • Pages : 3 (1156 words )
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  • Published : September 19, 2008
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Ovid’s use of the domina amoris and servitium amoris as the foundation his Amores was not unique, but rather reflected a theme created in the time of Plato. Plato wrote of the idea of a “love lady” in his The Symposium. Ovid was just one of the many writers in the history of the Western literary tradition to utilize this construction. From his Corinna to Dante’s Beatrice to don Quijote’s Dulcinea del Tobosa, the domina amoris has constantly been present and has always remained a key theme in the Western world, as reflected in our literature, history, and modern culture. The construction of the domina amoris can still be found in modern wedding vows, song lyrics, Hollywood movies, and as a central focus of Christianity.

The first mention which we know of, of the domina amoris, was in Plato’s The Symposium. In the work the reader overhears the story, told three times removed, of a symposium where the subject discoursed was love. One of the ideas presented was that of the domina amoris and the servitium amoris. Both relate to the idea of a man dedicating his deeds, in Ovid’s case his poetry, to a certain woman in the hopes of elevating her to a higher position. The idea of the domina amoris is one of respect, love, and devotion.

Unlike the Ovid found in the closing poems of Amores, numerous authors and antagonists in the Western literary tradition have found the domina amoris to be a very real thing. Dante immortalized the woman he was in love with in real life in his Divine Comedy. By placing Beatrice as his guide, Dante positioned her above himself and was able to keep the memory of her alive for centuries. Don Quijote sallied forth in the name of Dulcinea del Tobosa. Each time he “vanquished” one of his enemies, don Quijote made him confess the beauty of Dulcinea, because it was for her that he fought. Although fictional, don Quijote’s dedication is a perfect example of the domina amoris and the servitium amoris. Ovid may have liked Don Quijote if he had ever...
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