Identity In Ovid's Metamorphosis

1981 Words 8 Pages
The body is a form of art that extrapolates ones identity. It is through the identity of the body, that the society dictates the treatment of individuals. Ovid declares in his opening statement of the Metamorphoses, “to tell of bodies changed into new forms.” The body is consistently changing or shape-shifting, like the Greek characters, thus changing ones identity. And with the change of identity come the change of treatment of the self. Ovid’s proposition in his Metamorphoses, In the Flesh by Victoria Pitt, Plato’s Symposium: “Ladder of Love”, and Bodies Under Siege by Armando Favazza , convey the notion of body modification as it relates to the treatment of the identity of Gregor in Kafka’s’ “Metamorphosis”. The significant alteration of …show more content…
His usage of the terms “bent”, “changed”, and “forms” all in the one sentence depicts his perception of the body and the changes in the creation of the body: from rock to land to sea to heaven to the underworld (5-6). Each creation alters the way the body functions and each creation alters the way the body is defined and identified. His usage of shape-shifting Greek mythological characters to portray the body’s susceptibly to change, the same susceptibility to change that Gregor displays in Kafka’s’ “Metamorphosis”. For example, in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Daphne is transformed into a tree to escape Apollo’s unconditional love for her (Ovid 37), Io is transformed into a cow by Jove, himself, to deceive his wife Juno (43), and Syrinx is transformed into a reed, by the river god, to escape Pan’s avidity (51). Just like these mythological characters, Gregor transforms from a normal human to a disgusting beast; a beast so repulsive that his own family can’t bear the sight: “It sickened them to see them” (160). This sudden change of the body tests Gregor’s sanity and …show more content…
In Favazza’s Bodies Under Siege, the author defines the skin as a “thin layer of tissue that encloses the body […] socially and psychologically it is highly complex. Persons may be judged and much of their fate determined. The skin may also be thought of as some sort of a message center or billboard” (Favazza 149).According to Favazza, “the human body mirrors the collective social body” (Preface xiii). Favazza alludes the skin as a billboard; a billboard that displays all the commodities owned by society. Any change to the billboard represents rebelling against the ideals of society, therefore those changes are condemned upon. The bodily form of Kafka serves as the billboard that defies the ideals of society. In Kafka’s interpretation, the family serves as the society that views Gregor for what he is not, instead of who is his. He is objectified and deeply rebuked from the society, which is his family, for not obtaining the standard ideals of beauty. And when the family, or the society, disposes Gregor, or the rebellious beast who disowns their ideals of beauty, their lives ameliorate because they no longer have to take care for the filth that constrained their lives for months: “ They all three left the apartment together […] Both Mr. and Mrs. Samsa, upon seeing the daughter becoming more and more vivacious, realized almost in unison that lately, despite all the sorrows

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