The Metamorphoses of Ovid Book XIII: Questions and Answers


Book XIII: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. In what mood did Ajax begin his argument about the armor?

2. From start to finish, what was his attitude toward Ulysses?

3. What arguments were used by both competitors to promote their claims?

4. How does Ulysses justify his not-always-honest methods?

5. How does Ovid characterize the outcome of the debate?

6. Quote the paradox summing up Ajax’ fate.

7. What provided the final blow to Troy?

8. What fate did Hecuba fear most?

9. What outrage did Agamemnon commit against a noncombatant, the priest Anius?

10. By what means does Ovid characterize the uncouthness of Polyphemus?


1. Ajax is angry and belligerent, resentful that he has to prove anything.

2. He despises Ulysses, calling him a liar and a thief.

3. Both competitors cited their divine ancestors and their heroic deeds.

4. Ulysses points out that his methods worked; they were also supported by the other chiefs.

5. “The eloquent man bore off / The brave man’s arms.”

6. “Unconquered, he was conquered by his sorrow.”

7. The bow and arrows of Hercules, inherited by Philoctetes, arrived.

8. Only Ulysses claimed her, an old woman, as his prize. She was afraid of the humiliation of becoming a servant of Penelope, the wife of Ulysses.

9. Agamemnon dragged off the daughters of Anius to feed his armies.

10. The Song of Polyphemus is at once pathetic and humorous both in content and diction.