Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Summary
Analysis
All the gods mourn for Hecuba except Aurora. Aurora is busy mourning her own son Memnon, who was killed by Achilles. When Memnon is laid on the funeral pyre, Aurora goes to Jupiter and begs him to pay a tribute to Memnon; even though she is a woman and not a very important god, her son was valiant in the Trojan War. Jupiter grants her wish, causing a flock of birds to emerge from Memnon’s funeral pyre. The birds amass into two groups that fight each other and fall to ashes over the tomb. Each year, these birds repeat their war as tribute to Memnon, and Aurora weeps each day, creating the morning dew.
The warring birds and the morning dew that Aurora creates in memory of her son become two symbols of war that recur in the world. These symbols, although routine and everyday, are reminiscent of the destruction and the sorrow that war causes. Moreover, the everyday nature of these symbols creates a continual pattern of mourning for all the people who died in the Trojan War who weren’t famous, such as Aurora’s son.
Themes
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