How is Cyane violated in The Metamorphoses of Ovid?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cyane in the tale regarding the rape and abduction of Proserpina by Dis, the god of the underworld, is a goddess of a pool. She attempts to stop Dis as he rushes towards her with Proserpina in his chariot by remonstrating with him and encouraging him to approach Ceres, Proserpina's mother, in the traditional way and court her, just as Cyane herself in the past had been courted. However, Dis ignores her and drives his chariot to go straight through her pool, therefore violating her waters. Note how this act is described:

Then the son of Saturn, in a fury,

Plunged his royal sceptre

Down through the bed of her pool

And called to his savage horses.

The bottom of the pool split wide open,

And they dived...

Cyane is therefore violated not through being raped in the way that Proserpina is raped, but through the violation of her domain by Dis, and this "wrong" is something that upsets her so greatly, along with the abduction of Proserpina, that she cries so extensively gradually turns into water herself, losing her life and identity as she becomes one with the water of which she has been a goddess for so long. As such, the act of Dis in abducting and raping Prosperpina has more than one casualy, as it is an act that is shown to impact others negatively as well.

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The Metamorphoses of Ovid

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