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Compare and contrast the portrayal of the Gods in Virgil's Aeneid and Ovid's metamorphoses.

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  • Essay length: 2776 words
  • Submitted: 25/03/2004
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AS and A Level Classics

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SONJA CHEUNG

COMPARE AND CONTRAST THE PORTRAYAL OF THE GODS IN VIRGIL'S AENEID AND OVID'S METAMORPHOSES.

There is a significant difference in the treatment of the gods in the Aeneid and the Metamorphoses, even though both authors were writing in the epic tradition.

Virgil wrote his Aeneid in the last ten years of his life, between 29BC and 19BC, after the Battle of Actium, in 31BC, which was significant, as it established Octavian as the sole emperor, Augustus, of Rome. The Aeneid is a celebration of Augustus' achievements and rejoices in the development of Rome. There is a great sense of political propaganda, as well as an historical element, as it illustrates the origins of the Roman people.

In contrast, Ovid conceived a different purpose for his epic. He wrote fifteen books, compared to Virgil's twelve, with many of his stories originating from Greek and Roman myth, concerned with the transformations of shapes, from the creation of the world to Julius Caesar's death and deification. He focuses on entertaining the reader in a humorous fashion, and rather than establishing Rome's origins in history, he is more concerned with establishing his own fame,

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