The Metamorphoses of Ovid Book VI: Questions and Answers

Ovid

Book VI: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What new traits of Minerva are displayed in this Book?

2. What fatal error does Arachne commit when visited by Minerva in disguise?

3. What is the insurmountable difference, therefore, between gods and mortals?

4. What was the common theme of the design in the corners of Minerva’s canvas?

5. What was the common theme running through Arachne’s work?

6. What was the irony of the motif that Minerva chose for the border of her work?

7. What was the irony of Niobe’s boast of her ancestors?

8. What was the response of the people to Latona’s vengeance?

9. What is peculiar about the response everyone, including the victim, expresses with respect to the rape of Philomela?

10. What distinguishes the metamorphoses of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela from the previous ones?

Answers
1. Minerva is arrogant, deceitful, and cruel.

2. Arachne is stubborn and overly proud; she is guilty of hubris.

3. Gods and mortals are not equal and mortals forget this fact at their own peril.

4. All four corners shouted “Danger!” at overly bold individuals.

5. Arachne depicted the misdeeds of gods.

6. It was ironic that Minerva used the olive, symbol of peace, in a canvas that was a not-so-concealed threat at Arachne.

7. Niobe’s ancestors, especially the Titans, Tantalus, and Atlas, were themselves punished by the Olympian gods.

8. The people reminded themselves that the gods must be feared.

9. It is peculiar that everyone, including Procne and Philomela herself, acted as though the victim had been somehow to blame for what happened.

10. In the case of these three people, we are not told that a god effected the transformation; it just “happened.”