Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Metamorphoses: Book 14: Glaucus and Scylla (2) Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Glaucus swims across the sea to the green hills where    Circe lives. He greets Circe and asks her to take pity on him. He explains that when he saw Scylla, he burned with passion for her, but she rejected him. He asks Circe to cast a spell that will make Scylla love him. Circe answers that Glaucus deserves someone who actively woos him. She looks into Glaucus’s eyes and asks him to be hers.
In her response to Glaucus’s plight, Circe suggests that love should be a mutual, consensual occurrence. Glaucus’s refusal of Circe then perpetuates an idea of love that cannot attain to the happy state Circe describes; instead, love always plays out as nonconsensual, forced, and full of bitterness.
Themes
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Glaucus explains that while Scylla is alive, he can’t love anyone else. Circe is enraged by Glaucus’s rejection. She mixes some magical herbs and travels to the pool where Scylla likes to bathe. Circe pollutes the pool with her potion and mutters a spell over its surface. When Scylla arrives at the pool and steps in up to her waist, her legs are turned into a cluster of rabid hounds. Glaucus weeps over Scylla’s transformation and rejects Circe again. Scylla gets her revenge by seizing Ulysses’s companions when they sail into port. She would seize Aeneas’s companions too, but she is transformed into a rock first.
This passage describes a chain of revenges with unrequited love at their source. As revenge for Glaucus rejecting her, Circe curses Scylla instead of slipping her a love potion. In this way, Circe punishes a person who was only peripheral to the person who actually offended her. In her turn, Scylla then gets her revenge by attacking Aeneas and Ulysses, people who had nothing to do with her curse. Unrequited love causes a chain of revenge in which innocent people suffer.
Themes
Love and Destruction Theme Icon