From the Metamorphoses, would Ovid say that humans are in control of their lives?

From the Metamorphoses, one could argue that Ovid would say that humans are not in control of their lives. This is because they are presented as the playthings of the gods.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

From reading the numerous stories that make up Ovid's Metamorphoses, it would appear that human beings do not have much control over their lives. This is because the gods, for one reason or another, are constantly interfering, treating humans as if they were nothing more than playthings.

To...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

From reading the numerous stories that make up Ovid's Metamorphoses, it would appear that human beings do not have much control over their lives. This is because the gods, for one reason or another, are constantly interfering, treating humans as if they were nothing more than playthings.

To be sure, such interventions do not always have unpleasant outcomes. For instance, one might reasonably argue that turning Byblis into a fountain when she expressed incestuous desires for her brother Caunus was very much the right thing to do.

Even so, one cannot help but feel a sense of unease at humans being deprived of the right to determine their own lives by divine fiat, irrespective of any good intentions that may be involved. In the mythologized world presented to us by Ovid, it seems to be the case that humans are entirely at the mercy of the gods and their whims.

The gods are given to us as selfish and willful, almost childlike in their inability to control their emotions. The rape of Europa by Jupiter is almost a metaphor for the lack of control that human beings have over their lives in an enchanted world whose every aspect is controlled by the gods.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on