Pygmalion And Galatea Analysis

927 Words4 Pages
Mia Pollini
Lino 4
Comp Lit 30A
Winter 2018

Pygmalion and Galatea: An Myth Analysis of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Ovid, a Roman poet during the reign of Augustus, curated and developed a collection of myths in his lengthy work Metamorphoses, which explores the numerous tales of transformations ranging from people into laurel trees to escape infatuated gods to ivory statues being kissed into life by their sculptors – which is what happens in the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. Despite Pygmalion being misogynistic, cowardly and contradictory, his has an inarguably happy ending (which is unusual for most of the myths in Metamorphoses) while other artists and heroes, like Orpheus for instance, who go through great lengths to achieve their virtuous
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In Pygmalion’s myth, the sculpture (also named Galatea) is referred to as a “consort”, which is often defined as a wife, husband, or companion, in particular, the spouse of a reigning monarch. Plus, when she “opened her eyes to the sunlight… she first looked on her lover and heaven”, implying that Pygmalion is both her lover as well as her creator and her ruler. Furthermore, Pygmalion is resolute and dedicated not only to his principles, celibacy, and hatred of women who he deems impure but goes on to channel his human emotions into art and in a way becomes godlike in that he creates (or is the creator) to the most beautiful thing on the Earth. On a more literal and earthly plane, the myth itself explains why the island of Paphos received its name – named after Pygmalion’s daughter with Galatea. Additionally, Pygmalion’s great-granddaughter is Myrrha, who then lusts after her own father (and Pygmalion’s grandson). Fatum comes into play, suggesting maybe perversion begets perversion and so his line is punished in the long run. Plus, Myrrha and her terrible lust for her father mirrors Pygmalion’s contradictory hatred and desire for women; she cannot relate normally to her father, ending up hating herself and her feelings, while still wanting him at…show more content…
The transformative power of love, whether it be personal love or love personified in the figure of Cupid. Unlike the predominantly romantic notions of love that were "invented" in the Middle Ages, Ovid depicted love more as a dangerous, destabilizing force than a positive one (an exception in Pygmalion’s case) and demonstrates how love has power over everyone, mortals and gods
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