Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses

by

Ovid

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Metamorphoses: Book 6: Boreas and Orithyia Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Pandion dies with grief after hearing what happened to Procne and Philomela. The throne of Athens is taken over by a new king who has many beautiful sons and daughters. Boreas, the god of the north wind, falls in love with one of the king’s daughters, Orithyia. Boreas’s hatred for Tereus’s violence and cruelty makes him woo Orithyia gently.
The story of Tereus’s brutality has such an effect on humanity that it causes men—including male gods—to reconsider how they approach women. It occurs to some, like Boreas, that force against a woman is devastating and leads to horrible corruption.
Themes
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Boreas’s gentleness is unsuccessful. The god then asks himself why he, who can assault the earth with powerful weather, isn’t using his rightful strength to win the girl he wants. He blasts winds over the earth and makes it go dark. Boreas then swoops down on the frightened Orithyia and kidnaps her in his talons. He flies with her to the north where she gives birth to twins. When the twin boys reach puberty, they sprout golden wings.
When gentleness is not winning over Orithyia, Boreas decides to return to force in order to sleep with her. This shows that the men who learned from Tereus are not reconsidering whether or not love should be consensual. Boreas feels that he has a right to Orithyia no matter what, and so once he is unable to get her willingly, he does so by force, thereby putting an end to any positive developments that could have been made in the area of love.
Themes
Love and Destruction Theme Icon