The Metamorphoses of Ovid Book IV: Questions and Answers

Ovid

Book IV: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Was the taboo against working on holidays a Greek specialty? What other religious traditions have similar prohibitions?

2. Book Four illustrates one of the manners in which myths have come down through ancient times. What was it?

3. How did women in ancient Greece occupy themselves?

4. What metamorphosis is explained by the myth of Pyramus and Thisbe?

5. What aspects of that myth did Shakespeare “borrow” for Romeo and Juliet?

6. In what way did he employ the same source in A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

7. In many ancient societies, and in some societies even today, the punishment for a woman caught in adultery is instant death. How is the gods’ code different for the same offense, as shown by the treatment of Venus when caught in a net with Mars?

8. In what new role do we see Clytie in this book?

9. With all the tales of rapacious male gods, how does Ovid show that passionate pursuit is not a male prerogative?

10. What figure of speech is employed to characterize the attack of the monster on Perseus?

Answers
1. Most religions have a taboo against working on a holiday, for example, Jews are not supposed to work on the Sabbath, Christians on Sunday, Muslims on Friday.

2. While women did their spinning, weaving, and needleworking, one of them entertained the others with stories.

3. Women spun thread, wove cloth, and sewed garments and other necessities for themselves and others.

4. The mulberry tree’s fruit is white when unripe but turns red later.

5. In Romeo and Juliet, a young couple is kept apart by unreasonable parents; accidents and misunderstandings cause them to kill themselves, but their parents later regret their harsh treatment of them.

6. Shakespeare makes the tragic tale comical through the use of bungling actors and bizarre adaptations of the story line.

7. Instead of being punished with death, Venus shrugs off the incident, and the gods have a good laugh at the expense of the lovers, as well as of the cuckolded husband.

8. Clytie, fond mother of Phaethon in Book One, is now a jilted and jealous lover, causing her rival’s death.

9. The water-nymph Salmacis pursues and seduces Hermaphroditus.

10. The monster is compared to a galley bearing down on its target. The figure of speech is a simile.