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Myrrha Character Analysis

Myrrha is a character in one of Orpheus’s songs who falls in love with her father. Unable to control her incestuous passion, Myrrha decides to hang herself. Before she can, her nurse discovers her and forces her to confess her torturous desire. The nurse then arranges for Myrrha to sneak into her father’s bedroom and sleep with him under cover of darkness. Myrrha sleeps with her father for several nights until he lights a torch, wanting to see what his mistress looks like. Horrified to recognize his daughter, Myrrha’s father banishes Myrrha. The gods transform Myrrha into a myrrh tree, retrieving her father’s baby from her womb before doing so.

Myrrha Quotes in Metamorphoses

The Metamorphoses quotes below are all either spoken by Myrrha or refer to Myrrha . 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 10: Orpheus’ Song: Myrrha Quotes

I wonder, for daughterly duty
cannot condemn this love. All other creatures can mate
as they choose for themselves. It isn’t considered a scandal for bulls
to mount the heifers they’ve sired […] and even a bird
can conceive her chicks by a mate who happens to be her father.
How lucky they are to do as they please! How spitefully human
morality governs our lives!

Related Characters: Myrrha (speaker)
Page Number: 324
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Metamorphoses LitChart as a printable PDF.
Metamorphoses PDF

Myrrha Character Timeline in Metamorphoses

The timeline below shows where the character Myrrha appears in Metamorphoses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 10: Orpheus’ Song: Myrrha
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
...crime he is about to describe and instructs fathers and daughters to cover their ears. Myrrha, Cinyras’s daughter, is pursued by many suitors, but she is filled with incestuous desire for... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Cinyras approaches Myrrha to ask her which of her suitors she wants as a husband. Myrrha gazes at... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Overhearing movement, a nurse runs into the bedroom and prevents Myrrha’s suicide. The nurse weeps and embraces Myrrha, insisting on knowing why she wants to kill... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
...a festival for Ceres. The nurse goes to Cinyras and tells him that a girl Myrrha’s age is interested in being his mistress. Cinyras asks for the girl to be sent... (full context)
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon
Myrrha returns to Cinyras’s bedroom for several nights. One night, Cinyras decides he wants to see... (full context)
Book 10: Orpheus’ Song: Venus and Adonis (1)
Metamorphosis Theme Icon
Although Myrrha is now a tree, her baby continues to grow in her womb. When it is... (full context)