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|Title:||Humour in the Underworld of Ovid's Metamorphoses|
|Abstract:||The Underworld, a realm of misery, pain, and both literal and figurative darkness, is perhaps an unlikely place for humour and levity, yet in the Metamorphoses, not even it is exempt from Ovid’s characteristic wit. While scholars have explored Ovid’s use of humour in the poem overall, little focus has been given to the Underworld itself. The introduction will serve as an overview of Ovid’s Underworld, providing a catalog of the flora and fauna (both mortal and immortal, human and beast) present there, as well as its geography (the location of the entrance to the Underworld, the regions and the structures within it). Each subsequent chapter will explore a specific passage, presenting a detailed critical appreciation that examines the tone, structure, style, plot, language, sound, and narrative techniques (such as irony, imagery, allusion, similes, etc.), and also compare each episode with its corresponding literary model. Relevant passages include the descent of Aeneas and the Sibyl into the Underworld (Met. 14.101-157), the retrieval of Cerberus by Hercules (Met. 7.404-424), the destruction of Athamas and Ino at the hands of Juno and Tisiphone (Met. 4.432-511), the abduction and rape of Proserpina by Pluto (Met. 5.356-571), and the descent of Orpheus into the Underworld to revive Eurydice (Met. 10.1-11.66). This thesis will demonstrate that Ovid’s Underworld is depicted as dark and dismal – perhaps as expected – but it is also erudite, cleverly crafted, complex in tonality, and often a source of humour. Ovid consistently lightens the mood of traditionally serious myths and pokes fun at his predecessors, often achieved at the expense of the Underworld’s inhabitants, by diminishing their dangerous and fearsome nature to exaggerate their ineffectuality and absurdity. Ultimately, the Underworld of the Metamorphoses effectively exhibits Ovid’s wit and ingenuity.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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