Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Abstract

The subject of rape is pervasive throughout Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The myths themselves are by no means originals of the poet; however, his treatment of these stories is remarkably divergent from his predecessors’ in that he provides a uniquely female perspective by outlining both the victim’s suffering and the barbaric nature of the perpetrator. In Ovid’s representations of these rape myths, rape is never glorified, even when it is committed by the gods. The metamorphoses of female victims of rape in Ovid’s epic are representations of the victims’ emotional trauma, even for those who are able to evade rape. The metamorphoses of the male perpetrators symbolize their brutishness and unrefined power in committing the act of rape. Ovid further expounds the suffering of female victims in his depictions of victim blaming and secondary victimization at the hands of the goddesses. Ovid reexamines rape in these myths in depicting the ongoing torment victims of rape endure and the inexcusable injustice of rape itself.

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