Viewers and viewed in Apuleius' Metamorphoses
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Apuleius' Metamorphoses is a novel singularly obsessed with sight, spectatorship, the acquisition of experience from viewing, and the permeability of social and physical boundaries created by acts of viewing. I intend to analyze the variety of changes that viewing creates and how viewing itself throughout the novel signals the permeability of boundaries between classes and states of being. An examination of the patterns of motivation and consequence in acts of viewing reveals a concern with the delineation of boundaries of status and their transgression. The patterns of sight and transgression of boundaries unify the disparate elements of the narrative with Lucius' initiation into the worship of Isis. This study will argue that the novel is ultimately structured into a narrative of conversion by these scenes of seeing and transgression. The first chapter considers viewing in the context of tales inserted into the narrative. The second chapter covers instances in which the narrator, Lucius, is held in the gaze of others. Finally, the third chapter examines the ways in which Lucius views women, from the slave Photis to the goddess Isis.