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Metamorphoses: Book 2: Ocyrhoë Summary & Analysis

In the centaur’s cave, Chiron the centaur takes care of Apollo’s son as his own. Suddenly, Chiron’s red-haired daughter Ocyrhoë appears, who has the ability to tell the future. She prophesies that Apollo’s baby will grow up to be the healer of the world and will have the ability to revive spirits. When Jupiter gets angry with him for reviving a spirit, he will strike him dead with a lightning bolt. Later, he will be turned back into a god. Ocyrhoë then prophesies that Chiron will be wounded by an arrow, and that the gods will end his immortal life so as to spare him from suffering.
While the gods seem to be able to create action and alter the natural progression of events, it is also possible that they are simply fulfilling events already written in stone in the future but invisible in the present. Thus, when Chiron’s daughter prophesies the future of Apollo’s divine son, it becomes clear that the future is determined and unalterable. It is revealed that many events are the result of fate rather than chance.
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Ocyrhoë’s voice fades, and she laments that her power to tell the future has angered the gods. She starts to crave eating grass and galloping. Slowly, she transforms into a horse, and her voice changes to a whinny. Chiron asks Apollo to restore Ocyrhoë to human form, but Apollo doesn’t have the power to defy Jupiter.
Apollo explains to Chiron that the gods don’t have the power to alter one another’s changes. In this way, the gods are always battling and balancing each other out, no one god being able to consistently cast his power over the power of another.
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