The Art of Rhetoric in the Metamorphoses
Among the numerous passages covered in The Metamorphoses of Ovid, there are many stories regarding the origins of the Earth, the activities of the Roman gods, and some of Rome’s significant rulers and founders. Within each of these stories, Ovid injects an overall idea that can be taken away from the text. Many of these overall ideas are themes and lessons, but also there are arts that are illustrated to the reader such as poetry, singing, or weaving. One idea in particular that Ovid portrays is the art of Rhetoric in Greco-Roman culture. Rhetoric was used in Greco-Roman culture often as a means of putting together words in a certain order to persuade or inform your audience of a specific idea. The two stories regarding the discussion between Ajax and Ulysses over Achilles armor exemplifies the idea of rhetoric. Ovid uses the episodes of Ajax and Ulysses in book thirteen f the Metamorphoses to illustrate to the readers the art of rhetoric. Ovid draws upon previous texts covered in class such as Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid to form some of his stories in the Metamorphoses. However, Ovid’s style of writing is much different than that of Homer and Virgil. Homer and Virgil both write about post Trojan War events, but from two different perspectives, the Greeks and the Trojans respectively. Despite their difference in perspective, their style is the same in that they both focus on the glorification of war. They both portray violent events vividly and give praise to war heroes. Ovid, on the other hand, talks about certain parts in the Odyssey and the Aeneid that Homer and Virgil did not discuss such as the rescue of Achaemenides, the crewman Ulysses left behind on the island of Polyphemus, in book fourteen. Ovid seems to dismiss the glorification of war and briefly pass over violent scenes or portray them in a different, more comical, manner. Rather Ovid focuses on the arts of Greco-Roman culture. Ovid...
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