Portrayals of Gender in The Metamorphoses

About the Corpus


The Metamorphoses is a collection of narrative poems that tells important stories from Roman mythological anthologies as well as Roman history. The poem was written in 8 CE by Roman poet Ovid, with its original language being in Latin. The Metamorphoses, while controversial in its creation, has inspired many pieces of sculpture and art as well as writers such as William Shakespeare and Dante Aligheri. The poem covers a myriad of themes and topics and uses the framework of mythology to discuss social issues around gender, sex, and desire. While we do not cover the entire text in this project, the full collection has 250 myths, 15 books, and 11,995 lines.

Research Question

What are the representations of gender in Ovid's the Metamorphoses? How do representations of gender in the poem align or depart from hegemonic ideas of gender stereotypes? How does Ovid display desire among the genders? Who is the perpetrator of desire and who is the object?

Our Stories

We did not investigate all 250 myths within the text. Here are the 12 we worked with:

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