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Metamorphoses

Quotes Important Quotations Explained
Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 5

Now my work is finished, which the wrath of Jupiter, or fire, or sword or the gnawing ability of time will never undo.…I will live forever.

These words, from XV.871879, conclude the Metamorphoses. In this quotation, Ovid insists on the permanence of his work, which may seem strange after his extensive exploration of transformations and changes. But Ovid believes that creating art is an effective way to fend off change of an unwelcome sort. In Metamorphoses, artists, even those with mediocre skills, are the ones who control their own destinies. Philomela transcends her imprisonment by creating a new mode of language. Daedalus escapes from captivity by creating wings to fly over land and sea. Pygmalion avoids the immoral women of his day by carving his ideal mate out of ivory. Ulysses weaves a compelling speech to defeat Ajax. Ovid suggests that like his characters, he possesses the artistry that will give him power over the most feared transformation: from life to death. His body may decay, but he will live on through his artistic creation.