Interpretations of Ovid's "Metamorphoses" in literature
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The intent and influences behind Ovid's Metamorphoses is intentionally ambiguous due to the author's desire to be a poet first, and a sage second. However, a close reading of the text reveals influences from his philosophical predecessors, including Lucretius and Empedocles. Furthermore, later authors such as Dante, Milton, and Shakespeare pull out various aspects of the Metamorphoses for their own purposes, which provides an opportunity to back read the poem. This culminates in an effective renaissance of Ovidian interpretations in the twentieth century, with several noted poets and authors using episodes from the Metamorphoses in their own works, including Brodsky, Calvino, Eliot, Pound, Herbert, and Kafka.