The Metamorphoses of Ovid Book X: Questions and Answers

Ovid

Book X: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What warning does Ovid give that Orpheus’ marriage will be unhappy?

2. How does Orpheus explain his unusual request to the gods of the underworld?

3. What is the reaction of the shades in Hades?

4. What taboo does Orpheus break on their way up?

5. What are the two ways in which Hyacinthus is remembered?

6. Why was Venus angry at the women of Cyprus?

7. What is meant by: “The best art is that which conceals art?”

8. Pygmalion’s behavior toward Venus is different from that of Hippomenes. Explain. Venus’ attitude toward them is different also. Explain.

9. How does Ovid distance himself from the story of Myrrha and Cinyras?

10. In what new role do we see Venus in the tale of Adonis?

Answers
1. No blessing came on the young couple from Hymen; the torch sputtered.

2. He is only asking a loan of Eurydice, for her unspent years.

3. Everyone is deeply moved; even the Furies weep.

4. Orpheus turns and looks back; this was forbidden.

5. His name survives in a flower; the people hold a festival in his memory.

6. The women were murderers and brought shame to the goddess’ birthplace.

7. The ancients believed that when looking at a work of art, one should not be aware that it is art and not the real thing.

8. Hippomenes failed to thank Venus and was punished; Pygmalion thanked her and lived happily with his bride.

9. Ovid takes trouble to warn the reader either not to read this story, or not to believe it, but at least to realize that the “crime” was punished; at any rate, the readers should be happy that those events happened far away.

10. In this episode, Venus, the goddess, behaves like any simple girl in love.