Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Summary
Analysis
Nestor tells his story: Caenis is a beautiful girl who is pursued by many suitors. Caenis refuses her suitors, but one day she is walking on a deserted beach when (according to Rumour) Neptune rapes her. Triumphant, Neptune promises Caenis whatever she wants. Caenis says that Neptune has wronged her and asks that he change her into a man so that men will never take advantage of her again. Neptune changes Caenis into a man, and furthermore makes Caenis invulnerable to sword-wounds.
Caenis wants—as a kind of reparation for being raped—to be in a position where she’ll never be raped again. She asks to be turned into a male, suggesting that no matter what women do, simply by virtue of being a woman they are under the constant threat of rape. Therefore, Caenis believes that the only thing that will protect her from rape is not being a woman anymore.
Themes
Love and Destruction Theme Icon