Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ovid ('Daphne and Apollo' lines 463 - 469, with close reading)

Filius huic Veneris, "Figat tuus omnia, Phoebe,
te meus arcus," ait, "quantoque animalia cedunt
cuncta deo, tanto minor est tua gloria nostra."
Dixit et, eliso percussis aere pennis,
impiger umbrosa Parnasi constitit arce,
eque sagittifera prompsit duo tela pharetra
diversorum operum.

The son of Venus said to him, "Your bow pierces all things, Phoebus,
my bow pierces you, and so much as all animals are inferior
to gods, so your glory is inferior to mine."
So he said, crashing through the air with his beating wings,
he swiftly hunkers down on the shady hilltop of Parnassus,
and from his arrow-bearing quiver he pulls out two weapons
of different purposes.

1. Chiasmus in lines 463 and 464: tuus omnia . . . te meus (all things to you . . . you to me), emphasizes the comparison between Cupid and Apollo
2. Cupid's use of Phoebus in line 463 implies a condescending tone, as though he is only using this name to further taunt and belittle Apollo.
3. The metaphor of Apollo as a mere animal in line 464 emphasizes the point that Cupid is more powerful than Apollo and can do with him as he pleases: . . . quantoque animalia cedunt/ cuncta deo . . .
4. Enjambment between lines 464 and 465: . . . quantoque animalia cedunt/ cuncta deo . . .
5. The use of nostra in line 465 shows that Cupid is setting up Apollo as a sort of lowly 'outsider' among the other gods (lit. " . . . so your glory is inferior to ours.").
6. Synchysis in line 466: . . . eliso percussis aere pennis (. The interlocking word order heightens the imagery and emphasizes the movement going on in this line.
7. The use of pennis is almost a synecdoche. By referring to just a part, or the 'feathers,' Ovid is truly talking about the whole, or the 'wings.'
8. In line 467 Cupid chooses to shoot his arrows from Parnassus, which was a place sacred to the Muses and Apollo. This could be yet another insult to Apollo.
9. Line 468: . . . sagittifera prompsit duo tela pharetra . . . The word order is almost a chiasmus and mirrors the imagery of the arrows inside the quiver.
10. Antithesis between Figat and prompsit (piercing and pulling out).
11. Enjambment between lines 468 and 469: . . . eque safittifera prompsit duo tela pharetra/ diversorum operum.
12. In line 469 diversorum operum foreshadows the difference in affection between Daphne and Apollo. These words also slightly rhyme.
13. The overall tone throughout these lines is mocking and condescending. We get hte sense that Cupid is fed up and has reached his breaking point.

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