July 28, 2020
And when he was in heaven once again,
- Ovid (1993) . The Metamorphoses of Ovid. Translated by Mandelbaum, Allen. New York: A Harvest Book. pp. 71–73.
- Mercury, the son of Jove and the gods’ messenger.
- Always be wary when Ovid mentions love—he usually means lust, something certainly not spiritual, but a manifestation of an urge or desire. In fact, Jove seems to be the horniest god of them all, frequently unable to control himself.
- Maia is the mother of Mercury and one of the Pleiades.
- One of the principle cities of Phoenicia, or Lebanon.
- Lust, then, deflates nobility: a common theme in Ovid. Here, Jove renounces his responsibility to take the shape of a bull, metaphorically deflating himself to a base animal.
- You can’t help but read these lines as phallic, but these “massive weapons” are soon exchanged for baser (and smaller) “horns”, line 28 below.
- The south wind, bringer of the rain. See Anemoi.
- The deception is sinister. On one hand, Jove had lowered himself almost comically here as he acts more like a steer than a bull, but on the other, his calm visage hides a more sinister power. This foreshadows the terror that awaits Europa.
- Jove can barely contain himself. Again, this theme runs throughout the Metamorphoses: the delicate façade that hides a menacing desire underneath. Reality seems to exist in impulse, rather than the polite veneer we try to hide it with. “The rest” will be Europa’s abduction and probably rape.
- This whole show is like a mating dance; the fact Jove is a bull makes it more humorous, but it should seem familiar to more decorous rituals of humans.
- Jove presents himself to her, eagerly wanting her to touch his horns. Yes, the imagery is not subtle here.
- Indeed, Ovid explicitly makes his judgment here with this word: Jove is the predator and Europa is the prey. This theme of hunter/hunted also runs throughout the Metamorphoses.
- His butt, or rump.
- The abduction here becomes a metaphor for a successful seduction. Europa is now lost to what is familiar, much like Io was.