In order to understand the ethics and morals of the people within The Golden Ass, it is important to focus on the role of magic within this novel.
Firstly, it is quite evident that magic is central to the book's plot. The protagonist , Lucius, travels to Thessaly which...
is known for witchcraft. After obtaining magical secrets from a witch's servant by seducing her, he accidentally turns himself into an ass, contrary to his original intention of becoming an owl. From that point on, he experiences many trials and tribulations in relation to being an ass. The mistreatment he experiences at the hands of various mortals is representative of the consequences of using magic. It can be interpreted that the overall message revealed by the use of magic is meant to deter readers from obtaining things for personal gain through immoral means.
On another note, the various hardships Lucius faces due to magic are also very revealing of mortal sin, as these mortals torture him extensively and subject him to their sadism.