Gosselin 1990 Rape

Title Information

Author: Cheryl Anne Gosselin

Title: Rape, Seduction and Love in Ovid's Metamorphoses

Subtitle: -

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, Concordia University

Year: June 1990

Pages: vii + 131pp.

Language: English

Keywords: Ancient Rome | Representations: Literature / Ovid

Full Text

Link: Spectrum Research Repository, Concordia University [Free Access]

Link: ProQuest, Concordia University [Restricted Access]

Additional Information


»This thesis examines the role of woman as rape victim in the epic poem Metamorphoses written by the Roman poet Ovid. The study begins with a historical analysis of Ovid's poetry and of the world in which he wrote. Since women are the central characters of the Metamorphoses their social history is outlined. At this point an examination of the nature of rape in the Roman world and the legislation concerning the crime is discussed.
In the next section of this thesis a number of seduction and rape myths are chosen and discussed. An analysis of recurring motifs displays the characteristics of the rape victim, her pursuer and defines the nature of rape and seduction in the Metamorphoses. A comparison of the seduction, rape and love narratives reveals the importance of consent in determining seduction or rape and their difference from the emotions of mutual love. The function of metamorphosis in the narratives of actual and attempted rape illuminates the devastating and lasting effects of rape on a woman's physical and mental person.
The results of this thesis reveal, firstly, that Ovid's portrayal of women as rape victims can be interpreted as an accurate and insightful study of the plight of such women in his Roman society. Ovid's sympathy for women is evident in his depiction of rape from a woman's point of view. Lastly, Ovid's understanding of the nature of rape and its psychological effects on women is apparent when a thorough examination of the seduction, rape and love narratives reveals the boundaries between consent, force and mutual love.« [Source: Thesis]


  Abstract (p. iii)
  Acknowledgements (p. v)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  Chapter 1. Historical and Social Context (p. 5)
    i Ovid's Early Years (p. 8)
    Social Position of Women (p. 13)
    Legal Position of Women with Respect to Adultery and Rape (p. 189
  Chapter 2. Literary Tradition (p. 28)
    i Elegy (p. 29)
    ii Neoterici (p. 30)
    iii Augustan Elegists (p. 32)
    The Metamorphoses (p. 41)
  Chapter 3. The Imagery of Rape and Seduction (p. 48)
    A. The Heroine (p. 49)
      i. Male Restraint (p. 50)
      ii Feminine Autonomy - Goddess Diana Motif (p. 56)
      iii The Father - Daughter Motif (p. 60)
      iv Hair Motif (p. 65)
    B. The Male Pursuers (p. 69)
      i Burning Motif (p. 69)
      ii Persuasion (p. 72)
      Animal and Hunting Imagery (p. 77)
  Chapter 4. Seduction, Rape and Love (p. 82)
    A. Seduction (p. 82)
    B. Rape (p. 86)
      i. Attempted Rape and the Function of Metamorphosis (p. 86)
      ii. Actual Rape (p. 93)
    C. Love (p. 101)
  Conclusion (p. 111)
  Endnotes (p. 117)
  Bibliography (p. 125)
    Translations (p. 125)
    Other Works (p. 126)
  Appendix I. Recurring Latin Words (p. 129)
  Appendix II. Ovid Latin Passages Cited (p. 131)

Wikipedia: Ovid, Metamorphoses

Added: October 25, 2008 | Last updated: November 9, 2013