Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Summary
Analysis
While Nestor is telling his story, Hercules’s son interrupts Nestor to accuse him of forgetting to praise Hercules’s part in the battle of the Lapiths and centaurs. Nestor says that no one praises their foes. Nestor explains that Hercules destroyed many innocent cities and that he killed Nestor’s brothers.
When Hercules was presented earlier in the Metamorphoses, he was presented as a great hero who became a god. Here, Nestor puts this into perspective and shows how every person is a hero or a foe from different points of view.
Themes
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
One of these brothers, Periclymenus, had been given the power of metamorphosis by Neptune. When Hercules killed his brothers, Periclymenus changed into a bird and attacked him with his talons. Hercules shot Periclymenus with an arrow, wounding his wing and ruining his ability to fly. Nestor finishes his story by saying that his silence about Hercules’s heroism is his vengeance for what Hercules did to his brothers. The Greek soldiers retire to get some sleep.
Nestor explains that his silence is a form of revenge against Hercules. This suggests that telling stories about a person after their death has the effect of immortalizing them and making them venerable like a god. In refusing to talk about Hercules, then, Nestor is effectively declining to immortalize him. 
Themes
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon