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Metamorphoses: Book 1: Python Summary & Analysis

After the rocks transform into humans, other animals are made. The sun heats mud and makes it transform into animals. Farmers just starting to plough their fields overturn earth to find partially formed creatures, old and new, made out of the “friendly enmity” of heat and moisture. One of these new animals is the serpent, Python. The monstrous serpent frightens everyone until Apollo, god of archery, shoots it with his bow. Wanting to be remembered for this feat, Apollo establishes the Pythian Games where various athletes compete for victory.
This chapter illustrates the transitory relationship between natural elements, animals, and human beings. It suggests that the constitution of a human being is fluid and can take many forms. The “friendly enmity” that causes transformations can also apply to the relationship between gods and humans. While humans and gods are different and often at odds, the gods also seem to have an affinity for humanity that leads them to be involved in human affairs.
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