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Narcissus Character Analysis

Narcissus is a boy whom Teiresiasprophesies will live a long life if he never “knows himself.” Narcissus grows up to be desired by many girls. However, he rejects them all, including Echo. One day, one of the gods answers the prayer of one of Narcissus’s rejected lovers and leads Narcissus to a clear pool where he catches sight of his own reflection. Narcissus falls in love with himself and slowly dies beside his reflection, unable to obtain the object of his desire—himself.
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Narcissus Character Timeline in Metamorphoses

The timeline below shows where the character Narcissus appears in Metamorphoses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 3: Narcissus and Echo
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon
...prophet. One day, a sea nymph who has just given birth to a beautiful baby, Narcissus, asks Teiresias if Narcissus will live to an old age. Teiresias replies that Narcissus will... (full context)
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
One day, Narcissus is spotted by Echo, who falls in love with him. Echo is a nymph who... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Narcissus asks who’s there, and Echo repeats his question. Startled by his own voice’s reflection, Narcissus... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
One day, one of Narcissus’s rejected lovers prays to the god Nemesis that Narcissus will one day fall in love... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Narcissus stays by the pool day and night, not turning away from his reflection to sleep... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Echo watches Narcissus die. She echoes the sound of his fists beating his chest and his words of... (full context)
Book 3: Pentheus and Bacchus (1)
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
After the story of Narcissus spreads through Greece, everyone worships Teiresias as a great prophet. Pentheus, however, scoffs at the... (full context)