Delahoyde & Hughes
Orpheus

OVID
METAMORPHOSES
BOOK V


Perseus:

In Book IV, Perseus cuts a deal with King Cepheus and Queen Cassiope; they accept a pact and promise their daughter in marriage to Perseus if he frees her from the chains of the monster Ammon. Perseus saves Andromache, a woman betrothed to Phineus, King Cepheus' brother. So in Book V, Phineus is pissed off, unjustly so. King Cepheus points out to his angry brother that he was not the one to save Andromache from the horned Ammon, that monster of the sea. "You did nothing; you brought no aid." King Cepheus asks his brother how he can now outcry against her marriage to Perseus, when Perseus is the man who rescued her from death.

Phineus' rage persists and he strikes out at Perseus with his spear. He misses. Perseus retrieves the spear and fires it back, missing the scrambling Phineus and hitting the face of Rhoetus.

  • What happens next?

Perseus is a formidable warrior but he is eventually hemmed in by Phineus and a thousand of his men. Perseus says," You have compelled me to this step; from my own enemy I must seek help." He raises the Gorgon's head.

  • What might the Gorgon signify in contemporary culture?

Minerva and the Muses:

We hear about the gods disguising themselves as animals at one point (117). Ovid also supplies the story of Proserpine (in Greek, Persephone), her abduction by Pluto (Hades), and the search conducted by her mother Ceres (Demeter).

  • Ovid interjects that earth is not to be blamed for any willing aid in the ravishment (122). What part did earth play in this story?
Etiologically, we hear of the origin of newts (121), owls (124), the lynx (127), and magpies (128).


Metamorphoses Book VI
Ovid Index
Orpheus: Roman Mythology