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Failed Chastity And Ovid: Myrrha In The Latin Commentary Tradition From Antiquity To The Renaissance

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the interpretation of the story of Myrrha from Book Ten of the Metamorphoses. The narrative revolves around a young girl's failed attempt to remain chaste when confronted with an incestuous passion for her father. The story of Myrrha is one of Ovid's longest and most psychologically developed narratives, situated in Book Ten of the epic, where Orpheus, having lost his wife Eurydice, retreats to the mountains of Thrace and narrates the stories of youths loved by the gods and maidens set aflame with forbidden passions. Lastly, the Myrrha story is, from a stylistic point of view, in which the poet develops to perhaps the highest degree that sardonic humor that caused him to be labeled by the first-century rhetorician Quintilian a nimium amator ingenii sui-"too great a lover of his own cleverness".

Keywords:chastity; Metamorphoses; Myrrha story; Ovid



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