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Metamorphoses: Book 9: Iolaus and Callirhoe’s Sons Summary & Analysis

Alcmena and Iole weep together over their sad stories. Suddenly, they look up and see a young man standing in the doorway. It is Iolaus, a man who was restored to youth by Hebe, the goddess of youth and one of Hercules’s wives. After Hebe had answered Hercules’s prayer to restore youth to his son, she swore never to do this for anyone else again. However, a complicated civil dispute in Thebes leads Callirhoe, the wife of Alcmaeon who was murdered, to ask Jupiter to put the years that were taken off Iolaus’s life onto her sons’ lives so they can avenge their father. To this end, Jupiter makes use of Hebe’s gift of restoring youth.
Throughout the Metamorphoses, it has been a question whether age-altering is something the gods have the power to do or not. Medea altered the age of several people with magic, but she quickly began using this skill for wicked ends, actually killing her victims instead of making them younger. What is more, the different prophets throughout the stories have revealed that there is a set fate that the gods cannot alter. It seems plausible that aging would be in the category of fate, but Hebe, at least, has the power to alter it.
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