This article analyzes the trope of the Gorgoneion within the story of Perseus as narrated by Ovid in Books 4 and 5 of the Metamorphoses, with the aim of understanding how the poet responded to the gap between the verbal and the visual. First, it will be shown how the twofold nature of the Gorgoneion, suspended between words and images, is explicitely emphasized by Ovid. Second, the article delves into the following paradox embedded in the text (how can an epic text describe a quintessentially ekphrastic object such as the Gorgoneion/episema, to which the gaze cannot be turned?) and looks at how Ovid tries to overcome it. Third, it will be supposed that the narrative structure of the Perseid as a whole follows the invisible pattern of a shield ekphrasis, in a way that reminds one of (Pseudo-)Hesiod rather than of Homer. Ovid seems to have pushed the device of ekphrasis to its limits: it is not the text that incorporates or shapes the object through ekphrasis; rather, the object inscribes the text in and on itself, shaping and objectifying it.

Ekphrastic games: Ovid, the gorgoneion, and the invisible shield / C. Torre. - In: CLASSICAL PHILOLOGY. - ISSN 0009-837X. - 116:3(2021), pp. 369-391. [10.1086/714534]

Ekphrastic games: Ovid, the gorgoneion, and the invisible shield

C. Torre
2021

Abstract

This article analyzes the trope of the Gorgoneion within the story of Perseus as narrated by Ovid in Books 4 and 5 of the Metamorphoses, with the aim of understanding how the poet responded to the gap between the verbal and the visual. First, it will be shown how the twofold nature of the Gorgoneion, suspended between words and images, is explicitely emphasized by Ovid. Second, the article delves into the following paradox embedded in the text (how can an epic text describe a quintessentially ekphrastic object such as the Gorgoneion/episema, to which the gaze cannot be turned?) and looks at how Ovid tries to overcome it. Third, it will be supposed that the narrative structure of the Perseid as a whole follows the invisible pattern of a shield ekphrasis, in a way that reminds one of (Pseudo-)Hesiod rather than of Homer. Ovid seems to have pushed the device of ekphrasis to its limits: it is not the text that incorporates or shapes the object through ekphrasis; rather, the object inscribes the text in and on itself, shaping and objectifying it.
Ovid; Metamorphoses; Medusa; Gorgoneion
Settore L-FIL-LET/04 - Lingua e Letteratura Latina
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/864896
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