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Procne Character Analysis

Procne is Tereus’s wife and Philomela’s sister. When Procne hears that her husband has raped her sister, she furiously seeks revenge against him. After debating as to how to seek her revenge, she decides to kill her and Tereus’s son Itys and serve him to Tereus at a banquet; she can no longer look at her son with motherly tenderness, but only sees him as a reminder and image of her husband’s brutality. At the end of the story, Procne is turned into a nightingale with “the red badge of murder” on its chest.

Procne Quotes in Metamorphoses

The Metamorphoses quotes below are all either spoken by Procne or refer to Procne . 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 6: Tereus, Procne and Philomela Quotes

But once she saw that maternal claims were making her purpose
waver, she turned away from her child to the face of her sister,
then looking at each in turn, she reflected: ‘Should Itys be able
to say that he loves me, when poor Philomela has lost her tongue?
He can call out to his mother, but she cannot call out to her sister.’

Related Characters: Procne (speaker), Itys , Philomela , Tereus
Related Symbols: Speech, Words, and Writing
Page Number: 629
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Metamorphoses LitChart as a printable PDF.
Metamorphoses PDF

Procne Character Timeline in Metamorphoses

The timeline below shows where the character Procne appears in Metamorphoses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 6: Tereus, Procne and Philomela
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
...peace and because Tereus is wealthy, Pandion, the king of Athens, arranges for his daughter Procne to marry Tereus. Their wedding and consummation is attended by the Furies instead of Juno,... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Five years after their marriage, Procne begs Tereus to let her sister Philomela visit her in Thrace. Tereus agrees and sets... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
Tereus repeats Procne’s request for Philomela’s visit, adding his lustful passion to his voice. While appearing as a... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
...calling him a monster for ruining her, cheating on his wife, and forcing her and Procne to be rivals. She wishes Tereus had murdered her before raping her so her ghost... (full context)
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon
...out her tongue instead. He then rapes her several more times before going home to Procne. He tells her that Philomela died on the journey from Athens. Procne mourns and sets... (full context)
Time, Fate, and Poetry  Theme Icon
...that tells her horrible story in writing. She then gives this tapestry to one of Procne’s maids with instructions to give it to Procne. When Procne reads Philomela’s story on the... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Philomela shudders with shame, unable to look Procne in the eyes. Procne tells Philomela not to weep, and says that she plans to... (full context)
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
Procne and Philomela drag Itys to another room. Itys pleads, but Procne kills him with a... (full context)
Gods and Humans Theme Icon
Tereus comes home and dines on his son’s flesh. When he calls for Itys, Procne tells him that Itys is inside his belly. Philomela then revels herself, tossing Itys’ head... (full context)
Book 6: Boreas and Orithyia
Love and Destruction Theme Icon
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... (full context)