Whom is Ovid writing about when he uses the pronoun "them" in the Pygmalion myth? Use text evidence in your answer.

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The Pygmalion story appears in Book 10 of The Metamorphoses. Depending on the translation you are reading, the pronoun “them” might be used in several ways. I’m using A. D. Melville’s translation from the Oxford World’s Classics series, one of the standard editions of the epic. Based on that,...

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The Pygmalion story appears in Book 10 of The Metamorphoses. Depending on the translation you are reading, the pronoun “them” might be used in several ways. I’m using A. D. Melville’s translation from the Oxford World’s Classics series, one of the standard editions of the epic. Based on that, I’d say that Ovid uses the pronouns they/them/their in this section to refer to women that the mythical sculptor Pygmalion envies.

In this section of the poem, Pygmalion creates an extraordinarily beautiful statue of a woman, said to be more beautiful than any real woman. He pleads to the goddess Venus to turn the statue into a real woman, and Venus obliges.

Ovid writes that Pygmalion created this statue because envied “these women” who spend “their days in wickedness,” while he himself was “celibate” and “lacked the companionship of married love” (page 232). The reference to “these women” alludes to the end of the previous section of The Metamorphoses, which tells the story of Hyacinth. That section closes by suggesting that Venus, the goddess of love and desire, created the first prostitutes. The notes to the Oxford World’s Classics edition also state that Cyprus, where the story of Pygmalion is supposed to have taken place, was associated with “sacred harlotry” in ancient times. According to the epic, Pygmalion felt lonely but also was not drawn to the prostitutes Venus created. He instead turned his attention to art and asked Venus to bring the statue he created to life as an alternative.

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