Character Analysis Of Daphne In The Metamorphoses

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In his epic the Metamorphoses, the Roman poet Ovid tells the stories of mythological beings who underwent some sort of change. In Book I of the Metamorphoses, Ovid relays the tale of Daphne, a beautiful young nymph who was tragically swept into a quarrel among Apollo and Cupid. At the beginning of the story, Apollo is struck with a gold-tipped arrow, causing him to fall in love with Daphne. Daphne, however, is struck with a lead-tipped arrow, which makes her opposed to love and marriage. Thus trouble ensues, and as the story progresses, Ovid weaves a description of Daphne of how both society and Apollo view her.
Most of the description of Daphne is told through Ovid’s narration. While Ovid somewhat details her physical features, he mostly describes the the way Daphne relates to the societal expectations of the time. For example, the very first time Ovid mentions Daphne is in the first line of the story when he says, “Daphne of Peneus was the first love of Phoebus Apollo,” (452). Ovid is alluding to the sense of ownership of women of the time, and at times refers to Daphne not by her name, but as Peneus’ daughter. Throughout the rest of the story, Daphne is shown to be
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However all the description is told after Daphne was stuck by Cupid’s lead-tipped arrow, which caused her to become opposed to love. So that leaves the question, what was Daphne like before the arrow? While the answer can never be truly known, there are some textual signs that point out a probable answer. Daphne’s father, Peneus, often asks Daphne to give him a son-in-law and children. However when Daphne begs him to let her remain a maiden forever, Peneus lets her, without a big fuss, and Daphne only has to ask him once. Although, Peneus does warn her that her beauty will prevent her from getting her wish. This exchange implies that Daphne was on the track to living the life she was told to live by the patriarchal
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