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Atalanta vows to shun men because of a warning by the Oracle at Delphi that marriage would change her character. Needless to say, marriage would also inhibit the freedom she has enjoyed in pursuing her own way of life. It would seem that this awareness of her loss of freedom constitutes the principal meaning of the myth. The hatred of men that is mentioned in the retelling of the myth may be an expression of the idea that men and women have different interests, with women usually sacrificing theirs to serve those of men. That Milanion defeats Atalanta in their footrace suggests that the security represented by gold is, mythically, the most usual way by which men overcome women. It is difficult to interpret the metamorphosis of the lovers into lion and lioness, but a strong suggestion is that uncontrolled passion does not lead to stability and is, further, a violation of divine propriety.
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