Ceres’ Grief or Selfishness over Proserpina
In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the reader is faced with a wide array of transformation of humans to objects, plants and animals and also the seasonal transformation due to the emotions of the Gods’. Too most of us today, the changing of the seasons is due to the rotation of the earth around the sun. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the changing of the season are shown to be due to the emotions of Ceres, and this changing of the season is one such transformation due to the emotion of a God. Ceres is angry over the loss of her daughter, Proserpina, to Dis, (also know as Pluto or Hades, King of the Dead), her anger causes devastation to the land by droughts, floods and other natural disasters. Ceres anger can be explained as a mother’s grief over the loss of her child but it also shows selfishness in her at having to share what is hers. Dis’ kidnapping of Proserpina causes a chain of events that affects the whole earth. Ceres searches the world over for Proserpina but she is unable to find her. When she comes upon a pool of water, she notices Proserpina’s ‘girdle floating on the surface’ (Rolfe, pg.121: line 469). Ceres, in her current state of mind, blames the earth, especially Sicily, for the theft of her daughter. “Sicily is to blame for there she found the evidence of her loss” (Rolfe, 122: 476-477). She prevents the earth from nurturing the seeds and plants, allowing them to die. In her anger and grief, Ceres takes out her frustrations on an innocent land and its’ inhabitants. Ceres’ begins her destruction by “shattering the earth-turning plows, causing both farmers and cattle to perish alike” (Norton, Ovid, 1044: 649-650). Ceres goes and kills the men and cattle of Sicily because she is angry. Ceres takes her anger out especially in Sicily more than anywhere else. “The Sicilian fertility, which had been everywhere famous, was given the lie when the crops died as they sprouted, now ruined by too much...
Cited: Ovid. The Metamorphoses. The Norton Anthology of Western Literature, Eighth Edition, Volume 1. Editor Sarah Lawall, et al. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 1039-1049. Print.
The Metamorphoses of Ovid. Trans. First Edition, Editor Allen Mandelbaum, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993. 160-174. Print.
Ovid. Metamorphoses. Trans. Editor Rolfe Humphries, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1955. 117-128. Print.
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