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Byblis Character Analysis

Byblis is Caunus’s sister. As she grows up, she starts to desire her brother. She berates herself for her incestuous passion and tries to talk herself out of pursuing it. However, her passion becomes so intense that she writes her feelings on a tablet to Caunus. When Caunus reacts with disgust, Byblis continues to beseech him again and again, hoping he'll change his mind. When Caunus finally flees Byblis’s incessant advances, Byblis goes mad. She collapses on the ground, and some nymphs turn her into a mountain spring.

Byblis Quotes in Metamorphoses

The Metamorphoses quotes below are all either spoken by Byblis or refer to Byblis . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Book 9: Byblis Quotes

I have committed a wrong which I cannot undo.
I’ve written my letter and asked for his love; my intention’s exposed.
If I venture no more, my reputation’s already tarnished;
there’s little to lose by further appeals, but much to be gained.

Related Characters: Byblis (speaker), Caunus
Related Symbols: Speech, Words, and Writing
Page Number: 626
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Metamorphoses LitChart as a printable PDF.
Metamorphoses PDF

Byblis Character Timeline in Metamorphoses

The timeline below shows where the character Byblis appears in Metamorphoses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 9: Miletus
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon in Asia. There, he marries a nymph and gives birth to two beautiful twins, Byblis and Caunus. (full context)
Book 9: Byblis
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
As Byblis and Caunus grow up, Byblis starts to desire and love her brother as more than... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Byblis wishes that the gods’ rules and the world’s conventions would let her marry her brother.... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Byblis writes a message to Caunus on a tablet. She starts to call herself his sister,... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
When Caunus reads Byblis’s message, he is appalled and angry. He throws the tablet aside and threatens the servant... (full context)
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon
Byblis decides that she will beseech Caunus again and make him change his mind. Now that... (full context)
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
After Caunus flees, Byblis goes mad. She leaves her homeland and wanders the earth, tearing at her clothes and... (full context)
Book 9: Iphis
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
After Byblis’s transformation, a similar transformation occurs in Crete. A humble yet respectable man and his wife... (full context)