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Sevilla (Spain), 1599 - Madrid (Spain), 1660

The story of Orpheus and Eurydice is told twice, each to emphasize their individual stories and act like mirrors with reflecting stories of love and loss; the first being from Orpheus' point of view from Ovid's tale from 8 A. Orpheus is an archetype for strong human emotion and expressing it through poetry and music.


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Music is related to Orpheus' ability to move only forward in time, along with his feelings and mortal love. Although they can repeat, as they do in the scene several times, they cannot turn back completely and be the same. Zimmerman includes with the line, "Is this a story about how time can only move in one direction?

Phaeton narrates his own story not the case with most of the other stories. With the Therapist bringing a glimpse of Freudian psychoanalysis , Phaeton's relationship with his father can be seen in new ways: "the father is being asked to perform an initiation rite, to introduce his son to society, [and] to inscribe him in a symbolic order. Because Midas frames the story at the beginning and returns at the end as a redeemed man, the play ends with a sense of optimism due to his transformation.

The character Eros, although he attains many of the traits of the more popularized Cupid , is meant to symbolize more. In the play, "A", Psyche, interprets why "Q", Eros, is presented as naked, winged, and blindfolded: he is naked to make our feelings transparent, he is winged so he might fly from person to person, and he is blindfolded to encourage us to see into each other's hearts. Since the Metamorphoses is derived from literary texts, productions of Zimmerman's may be classified in the genre of Readers Theater.

Readers Theater generally follows the "presentational" form of theater, rather than representational, often relying on narrators to bring insight from an outside perspective to a character. The presentational aspect creates a direct link between the audience and the narrator. Readers Theater reduces theatrical devices, such as costumes, sets, and props, to concentrate on the story and the language. Slavitt translation of Ovid. Compared to classic genres, Metamorphoses is a hybrid containing elements of various genres, including comedy, classic tragedy, and drama, but not necessarily limited to any of them.

Based on myths thousands of years old, Zimmerman's Metamophoses demonstrates their relevance and emotional truths. The play suggests that human beings haven't changed to the point of being unrecognizable nearly two thousand years later.

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Zimmerman has said, "These myths have a redemptive power in that they are so ancient. There's a comfort in the familiarity of the human condition. An example is the Alcyone and Ceyx passage, when the audience learns of Ceyx's death long before Alcyone does. In terms of motifs, Metamorphoses is more subjective, especially related to the theme of death and love.

The play promotes suggesting death as a transformation of form rather than death as an absence, which is more typical in popular Western culture. A non-naturalistic play, Metamorphoses is presented as mythic rather than realistic. For example, the pool on stage transforms from "the luxurious swimming pool of nouveau riche Midas, the ocean in which Ceyx drowns, the food devoured by Erysichthon, Narcissus' mirror, a basin to hold Myrrha's tears, [and] the river Styx" [2] : and that the pool, like the stories transcend realistic thinking and are "suspended in space and time.

The plot is constructed as a series of vignettes, framed overall by a few narrative devices. The opening scene essentially shows the creation of the world, or Cosmogony, not only sets up the world that the following characters will live in, but the world itself. In terms of a beginning and end within the stories themselves, King Midas frames them with his story of greed at the beginning and his redemption at the last moments of the play. After being introduced as a horribly selfish man, the other stories of the play get told and mask the lack of resolution within the Midas story.

Finally at the end, Midas who is "by this time long forgotten and in any case unexpected--reappears, newly from his quest" with his restored daughter, and "on this note of love rewarded and love redeemed, the play comes to an end. Metamorphoses uses a combination of presentational and representational forms, including the Vertumnus and Pomona scene, which is both acted out and tells the story of Myrrha. Representation is used as a rendition of a story. For the most part, the play follows a linear technique by having the sequence of events in each individual story follow a rational chronological timeline.


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  • The Orpheus scene strays from this, by repeating a portion of the same scene numerous times to emphasize the torment of his loss. Zimmerman intended the play to build on a foundation of images. In a New York Times interview, Zimmerman said, "You're building an image, and the image starts to feed you. It's an artificial world and I treat it as an artificial world. Metamorphoses expresses general concepts and emotions, rather than focusing on individual characters. The central idea of Metamorphoses is the concept of change.

    To "metamorphose" means the striking change in appearance or character of something. Throughout the poem, Horace expresses distaste for what seems to him to be the too popular pursuit of wealth and status over virtue. The lion is parallel to the temptations of wealth and other things that lack virtue.

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    The lion in the story is sick, hence its title, The Fox and the Sick Lion. The inclusion of this detail suggests that the state lacks moral health. Accordingly, elsewhere in the poem, immorality is equated to sickness. This message is not said outright, but encoded in a story.

    But, as in the previous example, the speaker makes no claim to be telling the truth in this fabella ; it is an implausible story.

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    Based on its extreme brevity, we might be tempted to disqualify this example from being an ainos. But it is difficult to determine where the distinction between micro-narrative and allusion lies. We could see a micro-narrative in this and draw parallels between Horace and Hercules, the Roman people and the Hydra.

    Being cryptic, the line is only accessible to a qualified audience, and in this resembles an ainos. But, on the other hand, all of these examples present implausible stories whose implausibility makes the presence of a hidden message a given. At the end of this section on fabellae , Quintilian mentions that the stories he has described are also called by the name apologatio , though, he tells us, this term has not become common.

    In Act IV of the play, the brothers have returned and reconciled with their father-in-law, who now wants them to provide him with music girls for his entertainment. Instead of making his request outright, Antipho says he would like to tell a story, an apologus. How skillfully he made up his apologus! The micro-narrative of this scene so blatantly parallels the macro-narrative as to be completely artless, which the other characters in the scene mock with exaggerated remarks about its cleverness. But despite its comedic elements, the story has all the characteristics of a Homeric ainos.

    It has a micro-narrative whose characters and plot mirror the macro-narrative, a request politely concealed, and a specific material goal. This difference can be accounted for by the change in genre, comedy rather than epic.

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    First, in the De Inventione , Cicero explains how it is sometimes effective to open a legal argument in court with a joke. But Marcus Antonius provides no examples. Altogether, these orators paint a very hazy picture of what constitutes an apologus. It is considered funny and twice paired with, but kept distinct from, fabulae. It is nevertheless worth considering the Latin derivative as a synonym for ainos , given their etymological connection.

    In this poem we have a singing contest between two herdsmen, Damoetas and Menalcas. Near the end of their exchange of verses, each herdsman presents the other with a riddle. The first of these riddles has never been satisfactorily explained, with suggested solutions ranging from celestial globes to wells that reflect the sky, to the opening of the roof in the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill. The second riddle has a more straightforward answer: the lands where the hyacinth grow has flowers inscribed with royal names.

    Hyacinth flower petals have markings that resemble the letters AI. There are two mythological aetiologies for this. Firstly, a boy named Hyacinthus, beloved and accidentally killed by Apollo, transformed into the flower in death. In Latin, his name is spelled Aias, making the first two letters AI. In the case of the first riddle, it is not certain whether anyone in the history of classical scholarship has proven qualified, as the solution is still unclear.

    Within the poem, no character ventures to answer the riddles, leaving their qualifications in doubt as well. On the other hand, these two riddles have distinct differences from the Homeric ainoi. Firstly, neither riddle can be considered a micro-narrative, or a story with a plot parallel to the macro-narrative of the singing contest.

    The second riddle may allude to the story of Apollo and Hyacinthus, but the story is not told explicitly or in any way as to parallel it with the singing contest between the herdsmen. Moreover, one does not need to be qualified on the three customary levels, mentally, morally, and emotionally, to understand the riddles. While the story alluded to contains parallels to the macro-narrative at hand, as in the case of Orestes in the Pro Milone , its implausibility marks it out from Homeric ainoi.

    But the word apparently falls out of usage in Latin literature until the time of Cicero, who does not clarify the term beyond being a funny story. This is a paradox with a solution that anyone is qualified to know, provided they learn it from someone else. But they are not referred to by any name, exposing the limits of the methods used in this essay.

    Metamorphoses (play) - Wikipedia

    Vertumnus, a minor god, attempts to convince Pomona, a forest nymph, to love him by telling her the tragic story of Iphis and Anaxarete. Back in the macro-narrative, Pomona, as if heeding the warning, embraces Vertumnus. It is also persuasive, as Vertumnus encourages Pomona not to act in the same way as her micro-narrative parallel. But it is not called by a consistent name in its texts or in literature about it. Revised ed. Baltimore available online. The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours. Cambridge, MA available online. A Greek-English Lexicon. La permanenza nel potere. Ritratti di famiglie, di gruppi''.

    En Historias inmortales , Barcelona , , pp. Letinier de Arbizu, Rosine , Meninas. Enciclopedia del Museo del Prado , V , T. Las Meninas , Scala , Londres , Schreffler, Michael , The art of allegiance. Nieto Alcalde, V. Warnke, M. Bass, Laura R. Checa Cremades, F. Ellsworth Hamann, B. Cranston, Jodi , The muddied mirror: materiality and figuration in Titian's later paintings , Pennsylvania State University Press , , pp. Montanari, T. Bodart, Diane H. Beusterien, John , Canines in Cervantes and Velazquez. An animal studies reading of early modern Spain , Ashgate , Surrey , , pp.

    Prater, Andreas , Bilder ohne Ikonographie? Velazquez and the Royal Family. The complete works , Taschen , Colonia , , pp. Braun, J. E , 'Life studies.


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