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Metamorphoses

Book XV

Summary Book XV

According to Ovid, only immortality is not in flux. In his poem, four people have been made immortal: Hercules, Aeneas, Romulus, and Caesar. In the final lines of his poem, however, Ovid grants immortality to his Metamorphoses, and, by extension, to himself. He writes, “I have finished a work that Jupiter’s wrath or fire or sword or the corruption of time cannot destroy” (XV.871). These words stand in contrast to the major theme of the work. They suggest that Ovid’s work will never transform. They are defiant words. If the Metamorphoses was finished in a.d.8, the year of Ovid’s exile, these words may be pointed remark to Augustus. Ovid is saying that not even Augustus’s exile or the ban on his work in Rome will thwart the immortality of his work. The last words in the whole work are “I will live.”