Metamorphoses, Personalities Of The Gods

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The various gods that populate the myths Ovid uses in Metamorphoses contain several different aspects of personality and relate to people in very different ways. Each god is associated with a different type of myth that relates to his specific personality and the metamorphoses that occur within these stories are unique to each god.

Ovid portrays Jupiter as lustful, deceitful and violent as well as impulsive. Jupiter's deception and spontaneity often go hand-in-hand to accomplish one of his many schemes to seduce a woman for whom he lusts. Almost every rape involving Jupiter also involves a transformation of Jupiter into an animal or another person. For example, in order to rape Europa, Jupiter becomes a peaceful bull and grazes in a meadow to lure Europa onto his back. As the girl innocently hugs and decorates the bull with flowers, Jupiter's lust intensifies and when Europa climbs on his back, he races towards the sea.

Although Europa begins to become frightened, it is too late for her to turn back and Jupiter carries out his plan. Another scene involving Jupiter's lust is in the myth of Jupiter and Callisto. Jupiter's transformation into Diana deceives Callisto into coming close to him and then he takes advantage of her, stealing her innocence. Even while Jupiter was making plans to be with Io, Juno, his wife, "knew well the deceptions practiced by that husband, who had so often been caught behaving as he ought not." (page 45). Jupiter attempted to deceive Io by offering to her a shady grove in which to shelter herself from the sun, but she ran from him. Even though Io fled from Jupiter, he blanketed the earth in darkness and "robbed her of her maidenhood." (page 45) He later transforms Io into a cow to deceive his wife, who...

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