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How well do you think Ovid engages the reader in the telling of Scylla and Minos?

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Introduction

How well do you think Ovid engages the reader in the telling of Scylla and Minos? Scylla and Minos is one of the more light-hearted stories of the Metamorphoses in contrast with the previous episodes that Ovid inserts to keep the reader engaged and in the telling of the whole epic. Ovid includes many techniques to provide interest to the poem and engage the reader in the poem, all of which make the reader's experience much more enjoyable. The story is one that the reader relates with to quite and extent as the character of Scylla gets blinded by her love for Minos as the reader might have experienced themselves. Her young and childlike attitude is shown when she is idly throwing pebbles at the musical wall of the tower, thinking of her love who she has never met before. The fact that she is so innocent and does not realise what she is getting into by loving a man who is an enemy to her city engages the reader as they know that she is not thinking quite straight and may do things that she regrets later on. ...read more.

Middle

Ovid also uses nature to reflect the feelings and actions of the characters and personifies the weather and nature to make it easier for the reader to picture the scene, as it is something they can relate to and understand - "Nature's most potent feeder of a heartache, night, came on, and our heroine's boldness increased with the darkness." The fact that Scylla betrays her father and steals a magical lock of his hair to give to Minos shows her ruthlessness and sheer eagerness to do anything for him, and the reader would feel unsympathetic towards her as she is betraying everyone she knows for an enemy she has never met before. Her stupidity driven by love is clearly emphasized by Ovid to make the story much more humorous and light-hearted - "Driven to crime by love... I ask no reward but yourself.", engaging the reader due to her absolute stupidity. When Minos discards her offer and is horrified at how Scylla could do such a thing to betray her own father, he curses her for her ignorance and selfishness, which is implied to the reader about Scylla from the start of the poem, so ...read more.

Conclusion

is described very briefly by Ovid perhaps to shock the reader as they would have been expecting her to fall into the ocean, and to act as a small and subtle ending to quite a dynamic and eventful story - "Feathers grew over her arms. Transformed to the shape of a bird...". Although it did not all end so well for Scylla, the reader was unsympathetic towards her from the start so they would not feel much remorse towards her, making it a nice metamorphoses ending to the story as she at least can survive as a bird and regret her stupidity ,instead of falling to her death into the ocean. In conclusion, Ovid's telling of the tale of Scylla and Minos is done very effectively to engage the reader in the story at all times. His use of language and techniques help to add interest to the already eventful story, the irony and humour he includes would make the reader laugh and enjoy the tale and his descriptions of the two main characters also provide the reader with enough to provide an exciting experience when reading the poem. ?? ?? ?? ?? Arta Ajeti 10B.2 31th October 2009 Classics Miss Shaw ...read more.

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Response to the question

The candidate has responded very well to the question which deals with how Ovid engages the reader in the telling of the story of Scylla and Minos. He addresses various methods Ovid uses to do this - the characterisation of ...

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Response to the question

The candidate has responded very well to the question which deals with how Ovid engages the reader in the telling of the story of Scylla and Minos. He addresses various methods Ovid uses to do this - the characterisation of Scylla and Minos, the use of literary devices, and the use of humour. However, in some respects this essay could be improved, namely through a better awareness of the context of extract within the poem. However, this is a minor issue and the overall quality of the essay is very high.

Level of analysis

The level of analysis here is good for a GCSE level essay. The essay follows a very clear structure and the arguments are very clearly delineated. The candidate references the original text and makes insightful observations and comments throughout the essay. However in one instance the candidate writes, “Ovid also, as he does in all of the other poems in the epic, uses many similes and metaphors to keep the reader interested at all times -"passion was blazing" and "The winds...sweeping away my words".” Here the candidate has written about similes as well as metaphors, but the two examples he has given are metaphors. Candidates frequently are confused about what constitutes a simile and how it is different from a metaphor, so here the candidate has missed the opportunity to show an understanding of technical language which may set him apart from other candidates. Another minor issue with this essay is its awareness of context. For example, at the beginning of the essay the candidate writes, “Scylla and Minos is one of the more light-hearted stories of the Metamorphoses in contrast with the previous episodes”. Is it? Perhaps the candidate could here give some examples to substantiate his argument. The idea of ‘metamorphosis’ as a trope itself is only addressed in the penultimate paragraph , and very briefly – perhaps the candidate could discuss this in more detail and how it is used to provide continuity throughout the metamorphoses. Candidates who are studying the text in translation should also be aware that ‘metamorphoses’ is plural; therefore the sentence “The metamorphoses at the end when Scylla transforms into a bird” should really be “The metamorphosis at the end…”. Nevertheless these are minor points and the candidate generally delivers when discussing other elements of Ovid’s writing, for example how his wit and humour creates an altogether ridiculous image of Scylla.

Quality of writing

The quality of writing of this piece is very high; the spelling and grammar appear to be faultless and the writing flows nicely while at the same time fitting in with the candidate’s very well structured argument.


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Reviewed by medbh4805 12/09/2012

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