The Metamorphoses of Ovid

by Ovid

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In Ovid's Metamorphoses, what are three examples of gods interfering in mortal lives and the outcomes?

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In the story of Diana and Actaeon, gods directly interfere with mortal lives and the results are devastating. In the second story, Juno interferes with a mortal's life in an indirect way and causes a great deal of pain.

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Phaeton travels to the palace of the Sun to gain answers to questions of his origins. The Sun confirms that he is his father, but Phaeton requires more proof to believe it. He refuses to believe his ancestry unless his father allows him to ride his chariot and winged horses....

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The Sun does not want to grant this wish, but Phaeton is firm in his stance as the Sun eventually gives in and rubs his face with ointment to protect him from the heat and attempts to teach him how to ride the chariot. As soon as Phaeton takes flight, he realizes the Sun was right as he is not able to control the chariot. As he draws nearer to the Earth, moisture is gone, mountains and forests burn to the ground, and rivers dry up. The damage done to the mortal lives living on Earth is insurmountable.

In the story of Diana and Actaeon, as Actaeon is wandering the forest hunting, he stumbles upon the goddess Diana bathing in her sacred grove. Diana is so offended and exposed that she turns Actaeon into a deer. Actaeon's own hunting dogs end up brutally attacking and killing him.

Juno interferes with the life of Cadmus's daughter, Ino, due to her devotion to the god Bacchus. Juno, with the help of the Furies, make Athamas, Ino's husband, go insane and believe his wife to be a lioness and his children to be cubs. This causes him to brutally murder his child by bashing his head against a rock. Ino and her other child jump off of a cliff into the ocean due to their despair.

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There are so many examples to choose from. Here are three.

Narcissus, a beautiful boy, is pursued by the nymph Echo, and he rejects her. All that is left of her is her voice after she spends day after day pining away for him. Then Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance, made Narcissus fall in love with his reflection in a pool. Narcissus couldn't stop looking at himself, and he pined away as well. In place of his body, mourners found a flower "with a yellow center surrounded with white petals".

Daphne becomes the innocent victim of a contest between Apollo and Cupid. Cupid shoots Apollo with one arrow making him want Daphne, but he shoots Daphne with another arrow that drives love away. When Apollo attacks her, Daphne asks the gods for help, and they turn her into a laurel tree.

Apollo's bird, the raven, used to be white. The raven told Apollo that he saw Coronis, a girl Apollo had seduced, with someone else. Apollo shot her with an arrow, and she then told him she was pregnant with his child. Apollo rescued the child, but he hated the raven for telling him, so he turned the raven black.

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