Similarities Between Ovid And Lastman's Interpretation Of The Story Of Io

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Same Source, Different Stories:
A Comparison of Ovid and Lastman’s Interpretations of the Story of Io
Roman mythology is rich with stories of heroism and morality, but another common theme is the tumultuous relationship between Gods and Goddesses. This phenomenon is clearly seen in the myth of Io. The most widely known account of the story of Io was written by Roman poet Ovid in 8AD as one of nearly 250 myths in his poem The Metamorphoses. Jupiter, the chief deity, sees the beautiful nymph Io and decides to have his way with her, concealing his adulterous behavior with a dark cloud above them. Despite his intentions, the cloud only advertises the suspicious situation to his wife Juno and she rushes to the Earth intent on discovering Jupiter’s
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The length of Ovid’s episode regarding Io allows him to capture a multitude of moments and therefore stress the frequency that gods exhibit amor and goddesses exhibit ira, so the reader can establish a link between the sexes and these desires. Lastman’s medium does not provide him this opportunity to do this. Instead he must focus on one moment and communicate the desires of the Jupiter and Juno at this specific time, making no comments about the general trends of amor and ira. By choosing to depict the moment that Juno discovers Jupiter with Io, he chooses the moment that Juno first exhibits ira. Because Lastman’s audience is not aware of the mappings Ovid drew between the sexes and the desires and the casual nature of their relationship, they can consider the idea that a factor other than Jupiter’s amor aroused her ira, particularly that the cause was her “…her own frustrated amor” (Nagle 241). When Jupiter becomes sexually engaged with Io, he does not only satisfy his own amor, but strongly rejects Juno’s amor. By drawing these mappings, Ovid may have defined how amor and ira typically function, but he constrains his audience’s mental framework to the point that they do not consider the fact that a goddess like Juno would exhibit amor. Because of the momentary nature of Lastman’s work, his audience may not have as rich of an understanding of the prototypical workings of amor and ira, but they have the freedom to think of exceptions to these general

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