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Shakespeare and Ovid$
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Jonathan Bate

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198183242

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183242.001.0001

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Tragedy and Metamorphosis

Tragedy and Metamorphosis

(p.171) 5 Tragedy and Metamorphosis
Shakespeare and Ovid

Jonathan Bate

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the influence of Roman poet Ovid's Metamorphoses on William Shakespeare's tragedy. It suggests that Ovid's description of the Age of Iron and the language he used in his work has provided the inspiration and precedent for Shakespearean tragedy. Examples of tragedies inspired by Ovid include Titus Andronicus and Macbeth. Like Ovid's poetry, the theme of Shakespeare's tragedy is the breaking of sacred bonds, be it between host and guest or between kin.

Keywords:   Metamorphoses, Ovid, Shakespearean tragedy, William Shakespeare, literary precedents, Titus Andronicus, Macbeth

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