Friday, February 8, 2008

Pensum Secundum--Pyramus and Thisbe

In his commentary, William Anderson says that "it is the program of the Metamorphoses to explore human love through a large variety of narratives, a program so obvious that the poem has been called on "epic of love". (p. 417)

He also notes that the story of Pyramus and Thisbe is a "naive presentation of love here" which "can function as the beginning of a progressive exploration." (ibid.)

Address both of these claims. How does this story fit in "an epic of love"? If the story of Pyramus and Thisbe is a naive presentation of love, what elements of the story could easily be developed for a more mature presentation of love?

As always, cite the Latin from Ovid, translate it, and then make good arguments for your analysis.


Roseanne2 said...

The story of Pyramus and Thisbe fits in as “an epic of love” because this poem uses the voices of both Pyramus and Thisbe to explore the emotion of love. The poem also uses the emotions of guilt and sadness to portray the love between Pyramus and Thisbe. For example, in lines 4.110- 4.112, Pyramus holds himself responsible for the death of Thisbe. He says, “nostra nocens anima est. ego te, miseranda, peremi, in loca plēna metūs quī iussī nocte venīrēs nec prior huc veni.” “My spirit is guilty. Miserable, I who, in places full of fear, ordered you to come at night, to a place I have not come before.” He believes that he is guilty of killing her because he is the one who told her to come to a place where even he was not familiar with. Also, since he was late, he might consider himself as the cause of her death. This means that if he had gotten to the place on time, maybe none of this would have happened. Therefore, he is filled with regret. Thisbe, on the other hand, who is hiding from the lion, comes out to find her beloved Pyramus dying on the floor. After finding her veil, she realizes that Pyramus killed himself. In lines 4. 151-4.152, she says, “persequar extinctum letique miserrima dicer causa comesque tui,” “I’ll follow you to death, and I most wretched will be said as the cause of your death and a companion of you.” Love has given her the courage to kill herself since she has lost her own love, Pyramus.

The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is quite a naïve representation of love. For instance, it is unrealistic for someone to jump to conclusions and kill themselves over the supposed loss of a loved one. If Pyramus would spend more time in search of Thisbe, instead of just finding a veil with blood on it and killing himself, he would find her, and there would not be such a tragic ending to a beautiful love story.

lauren2 said...

An epic can be defined as "very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary;" Anderson makes the claim that Ovid's tale of Pyramus and Thisbe is an "epic of love," which seems to be a justifiable claim. Pyramus and Thisbe have a connection through a naive, impulse-like love. In line 96: "audacem faciebat amor," translated "love was making her (Thisbe) bold." They are two lovers separated by the conflicts of their families who fall to their death because of the situation. This is notable because these lovers receive no divine intervention, leading to the conclusion that Pyramus and Thisbe's human nature is their downfall. Thisbe says in line 148-149, "'Tua te manus,' inquit, 'amorqueperdidit infelix!" translated, "'Your hand and unfortunate love has destroyed you!' she said." The tragic fall of Pyramus and Thisbe results in the poem being called an "epic of love."
Pyramus and Thisbe is indeed also a naive presentation of love. Neither Pyramus or Thisbe make reasonable decisions about their relationship or their own lives. In lines 151-152, Thisbe demonstrates the couple's lack of reason: "Persequar exstinctum, letique miserrima dicar causa comesque tui;" meaning "I will follow the dead, and I will be said to be the most miserable cause of death and the companion of you;" If Pyramus and Thisbe were analytical thinkers, it would not make for such a good story line. Every impluse decision, like running away and killing themselves without weighing the options, could have easily been prevented. Yet, the essence of the tale IS the naive presentation of love and how it blurs the vision of young lovers.

Kelsey2 said...

The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is important to the overall collection of narratives because it represents young and inexperienced love. It also demonstrates forbidden love, as the pair are held apart by their parents:
"taedae quoque iure coissent, sed vetuere patres; quod non potuere vetare, ex aequo captis ardebant mentibus ambo."
"also with the sanction of the wedding-torch they would have come together, but the fathers forbade it; because they were not able to forbid it, both equally were burning with captive minds."
Pyramus and Thisbe are engaged in an innocent love, but they are not the only source of naivete in the story. I think the parents themselves exhibit a certain kind of naivete in being unable or unwilling to recognize the unfortunate consequences of their stubbornness and misunderstanding. The refusal to accept young Pyramus and Thisbe's love is what drives them to disobey their parents and eventually meet their tragic end. The "transformations" of this story include not only the growing boldness of the lovers, but the parents' acknowledgement of their wishes, symbolized by placing their ashes together.
"quodque rogis superest, una requiescit in urna."
"and which remains of the funeral pyre, it (the lovers' remains) rests in one urn."
Sadly, it is far too late, but the gesture indicates a hard lesson learned, and the good that came of a tragedy.
In order for the story to be a more mature presentation of love, Pyramus and Thisbe might have to be freer to make decisions. Their youth and the dominance of their parents limits experience and the ability to comprehend anything other than the circumstances of the desperate relationship they know.

82 said...

Pyramus and Thisbe is a naive presentation of love, because they are young and its their youthful and naive love that leads to their downfall. In line 117 Pyramus says "'accipe nunc' inquit 'nostri quoque sanguinis haustus!'" which means "accept now, he said, draughts of our blood too!". Certain times like this, we see how naive these lovers are as they jump to conclusions. In some ways however, I see that there love could be classified as mature. Pyramus and Thisbe have spent many hours talking through the crack and really getting to know each other which can prove that it is a petty "lust" but rather somewhat more mature love. THe maturity could be increased by better decision making instead of fast choices of sneaking out and killing oneself without weighing all the evidence. This whole story however, does fit into an epic of love because it is a long narrative based on a journey through love. The story has two likeable characters who get sweeped away by their emotions and eventually lead to their downfall. Pyramus and Thisbe characterizes a true epic of love.

khushbu2 said...

The story of Pyramus and Thisbe definitely fits into “an epic of love.” Whether Ovid is addressing passionate love or familial love in Daphne and Apollo or Daedalus and Icarus respectively, he creates works which can be categorizes into an epic of love. In Pyramus and Thisbe, their love for each other is created by communication through chink in a wall (fissus erat tenui rima, quam duxerat olim, paries domui communis utrique). These young lovers are able to form a connection in such outstanding circumstances and tempore crevit amor (love grew with time) It is this love and their inexperience that causes the demise of the young lovers. Pyramus and Thisbe can be seen as a naïve representation of love. It is their immaturity or lack of experience of the youths that leads one to a quick conclusion and the other to kill herself after seeing her dead lover. I don’t think that I would develop a specific element to make it a more mature representation of love because this epic of love would loose e this stage of innocent and young love. If I had to choose, I would develop the idea that by forbidding their love their parents influenced the outcome. It was not just immaturity that caused their fate in the end. Without the disapproval, this outcome would not be likely. This shifts the blame of their fate way from this naïve love and immaturity.

hope2 said...

Pyramus and Thisbe is a love story about two young lovers who try to be together but tragically fail. However, at first it does not seem epic because that word implies large proportions and global consequences. Pyramus and Thisbe, on the other hand, does not even involve divine intervention and is about only human love. However, the story gains its epic sense partially through style (Pyramus's spurting blood is described as a broken pipe that "tenui stridente foramine longas eiaculatur aquas, atque ictibus rumpit" or "through a thin, hissing hole, shoots out long waters and bursts the air with spurts" 123-124), which gives a dramatic, even graphic tone. The main thing that lends an epic feel to the poem is its universal themes of forbidden love and grief.
Anderson argues that their love is naive, which is true in that it is simple and innocent but not in that it is immature or shallow. The pair are described as "pulcherrimus iuvenem" (the most beautiful of boys) and "praelata puellis" (preferred over girls) in lines 1 and 2, showing their youth. However, their love is not based on lust or Cupid's arrows like that of Apollo for Daphne but on genuine emotion, based not on the physical but on the words they share on either side of the wall, which they rightfully thank because "datus est verbis ad amicas transitus aures" or "a path was given for words to friendly ears" (77), a chance to gain a real, solid basis for their love. They further show the depth of their love in the changes that occur within them. For Thisbe, "audacem faciebat amor" or "love was making her bold" (96), giving her the courage to risk everything to be with Pyramus. For him, his love allows him to make the impossible choice, going against the conventional wisdom that "timidi est optare necem" or "it is for the timid to choose death" (115).
However, the depth of their love is tainted by their inexperience: they do not plan well enough to arrive at the same time, Pyramus does not think to make sure Thisbe is dead, and Thisbe does not understand the idea of living on for the one you loved. But then there would be no story. Ovid already does a good job of making their love believable. The very concept of tragedy is that the conclusion is inevitable, but instead of highlighting the hand of fate/gods, Ovid chose to risk naivety and allow his characters to be fully human.

vikas2 said...

The story of Pyramus and Thisbe fits in the category of “epic of love” because it portrays two youths, Pyramus and Thisbe, in an adventure for freedom. The two are very much in love with each other but their families do not approve of their love. The two were separated by a wall where they talked through a crack, and they devised a plan to flee so that they could live happily together. “fallere custodes foribusque excedere temptent,
cumque domo exierint, urbis quoque tecta relinquant” (they would try and deceive their guardians and cross the gates, and when they have left the house, to leave the confines of the city too). Waiting for Pyramus, Thisbe was the first to arrive at Ninus’s tomb when a lioness came for water. “dum redit in silvas, inventos forte sine ipsa ore cruentato tenues laniavit amictus” (while she returned into the forest, she mangled with bloody mouth
the thin cloaks found by chance found without Thisbe herself). Thisbe ran into a nearby cave, while the lioness mangled with her veil. Later, Pyramus arrived and he saw the Thisbe’s veil and assumed her to be dead. In grief and guilt, Pyramus decided to kill himself. “accipe nunc inquit nostri quoque sanguinis haustus! quoque erat accinctus, demisit in ilia ferrum” (accept now, he said, draughts of our blood too! and he sent into his bowels the iron with which he was girt). When Thisbe came out of the cave, she found Pyramus lying under a tree dead. Also in grief and guilt, she took the sword and killed herself. ”dixit et aptato pectus mucrone sub imum incubuit ferro, quod adhuc a caede tepebat” (She spoke and with the sword-point adjusted under her lowest chest
she lay on iron, which hitherto was warm from slaughter). The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is an epic of love because the two youths shared a selfless love that made sure in even death, they were together. Without a doubt, the story of Pyramus and Thisbe is a naive presentation of love. Realistically, no one would kill himself by just seeing a bloody veil on the ground. If Pyramus were to actually try to look for Thisbe and make sure she was dead, it would develop the story into a more mature presentation of love. The decision Pyramus made to kill himself was irrational and just plain stupid.

Timmy2 said...

William Anderson's description of the Metamorphoses as an “epic of love” is pretty accurate. Each story in the compilation demonstrates different types of love. Apollo and Daphne focuses on infatuation and passion while the story of Daedalus and Icarus is based on filial and paternal love. Specifically, the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe fits under this title because it is based on the idea of young or as Anderson describes it naïve love.

The two lovers make rash decisions in the name of love. As soon as he finds Thisbe's bloodied veil he states “una duos nox perdet amantes, e quibus illa fuit longā dignissima vitā; nostra nocens anima est. ego te, miseranda, peremi, in loca plēna metūs quī iussī nocte venīrēs nec prior huc veni. nostrum divellite corpus et scelerata fero consumite viscera morsu, o quīcumque sub hāc habitātīs rūpe leōnēs!” which means “one night will destroy two lovers, of whom she was the most deserving of long life. Our (my) soul is guilty. I killed you, miserable one, who commanded you to come by night but did not come here first. Oh you whatever lions who live under this rock, rip my body and eat my wicked entrails with ferocious teeth!” From here, he proceeds to cry and then kill himself. Thisbe soon finds his bloody corpse and too kills herself.

The shear stupidity of the two lovers is what makes them naive. They are so driven by the passion of their love that they do not stop to think. Pyramus immediately assumes Thisbe has been eaten by lions, and does not bother to even find her body or the lions who have killed her. More mature people would have found Thisbe or avenged her death. At least then, he could been sure of what happened instead of killing himself for no reason. Better yet, more experienced lovers could meet in a safer place, far away from any lions. Wisdom comes with maturity, an attribute which both of them clearly lack.

jane2 said...

The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is an "epic of love" because it is a long narrative poem about love between two people. In lines 4.59-60, Ovid writes: "Notitiam primosque gradus vicinia fecit, tempore crevit amor" / "Proximity caused acquaintance and first approaches, love grew with time." The story of Pyramus and Thisbe could be considered a naive representation of love due to two elements that could be developed for a more mature representation of love. One element is in lines 4.84-85: "statuunt, ut nocte silenti fallere custodes foribusque excedere temptent" / "they resolved that in the silent night they would try and deceive their guardians and cross the gates." I think this is somewhat naive because Pyramus and Thisbe seem to think that leaving together will solve all their problems. However, because they are not really prepared for what they will do once they successfully escape, more problems will arise. I think this element will more maturely represent love if they chose to stay and tried to persuade their parents to accept them as they are. Another element is in lines 4.117-118 ("utque dedit notae lacrimas, dedit oscula vesti, 'accipe nunc' inquit 'nostri quoque sanguinis haustus!" / "and as he gave tears and gave kisses to the well-known garment, 'accept now' he said, 'droughts of our blood too!") and 4.151-152 ("persequar extinctum letique miserrima dicer causa comesque tui" / "I'll accompany perished, and I most wretched will be said your death's cause and companion of you!"). I think this is somewhat naive. I think Pyramus and Thisbe killing themselves thinking that the other died could represent love more maturely if they chose to keep on living. That scenario is more realistic, and also, I think that a dead person would not want his/her lover to commit suicide just because of that person's death. He/she would want the lover to live on, find new love, and try to be happy.

pranav2 said...

I think that Anderson’s idea that the Metamorphoses is an “epic of love” is very insightful. Although the work is not one, continuous stories, all of the separate pieces fit together to show all of the different facets of love. The story of Apollo and Daphne focuses on the aspects of passion and sexual desire. Daedalus and Icarus shows paternal and familial love. Finally, the tragic tale of Pyramus and Thisbe shows the young and naïve aspects of love.
Pyramus and Thisbe’s love story shows how inexperience and naiveté can lead to irrational and unintelligent decisions. Pyramus’ reaction in lines 110-114 shows this stupidity: “nostra nocens anima est. ego te, miseranda, peremi, in loca plēna metūs quī iussī nocte venīrēs nec prior huc veni. nostrum divellite corpus et scelerata fero consumite viscera morsu, o quīcumque sub hāc habitātīs rūpe leōnēs!”
“Our soul is guilty. I killed you, o miserable one, who ordered you to come to these unknown places but did not come first. Oh whatever lions that live under this rock, tear up my body and eat my wicked entrails with vicious teeth!” Pyramus all of sudden decides Thisbe is dead just by seeing a bloody cloak, and therefore proceeds to stab himself. Later, when Thisbe comes along and sees Pyramus’ body she too becomes overcome with grief and commits suicide.
If the two lovers had been more mature and not blinded by their youthful love, they could have both lived together instead of their remains being together in an urn. Their love makes them unaware of obvious things happening around them and obscures their common sense. If Pyramus had calmly analyzed the situation, he might have thought that a bloody cloak does not necessarily mean Thisbe is dead. Had he called out her name like someone who was not blinded by youthful love would have done, he would have probably discovered that she was safe. If the two lovers were older and more mature, they most likely would have made these rational decisions and lived happily ever after (sort of).

anqi2 said...

The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is an part of a greater work by Ovid: the Metamorphoses. Many have called it the "epic of love" because it shows the many faces and sides of love has to offer. The story of the two young and brash lovers is the quintessential example of immature love. Ovid compares this with other love that he presents in the Metamorphoses including the very mature love of father and son, exemplified by Daedalus and Icarus.

The brash young love of the two are shown in the text of the story. The two are first shown as having a physical attraction because Pyramus is "iuvenum pulcherrimus" (Line 55- "the most handsome man") and Thisbe is described as "altera, quas Oriens habuit, praelata puellis" (Line 56- "the other is the most preferred of the girls the East had"). So, of course, the physical attraction does lend some emotions to the plot (which many elders say is not the best for strong relationships, hahaha...)

Their immature love is also shown when Thisbe first leaves her house to meet up with Pyramus. Ovid writes that "audacem faciebat amor" (Line 96- "love made her brave") Because of her love with Pyramus, she is taking more risks to finally give him the full-body hug they have been yearning for.

The couple could have been cast in a better and more mature light if they sat down to consider the cosequences and the possibilities. For example, when Pyramus sees the "vestem quoque sanguine tinctam" (Line 107- "the cloak also stained with blood") he jumps to conclusions, thinking that Thisbe has been died and he blames himself for not being there for her. He immediately takes a sword and pierces himself. These rash and bold decisions are characteristic of immature love.

hyung02 said...

In regard to the second claim, Anderson says that the story is a "naive presentation of love." Like Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, two lovers jump to a conclusion without a second thought. In lines 105-108, Ovid writes, "serius egressus vestigia vidit in alto pulvere certa ferae totoque expalluit ore Pyramus; ut vero vestem quoque sanguine tinctam repperit, 'una duos' inquit 'nox perdet amantes,"//having gone out later, he saw, in deep sand, the certain tracks of a wild animal, and his whole face turned pale, when also the garment stained with blood discovered.'one night', he said, 'will destroy two lovers,'" Here, he assumes that Thisbe is dead. He did not search for her. He just jumps to the conclusion that she is dead. Then, he commits suicide. After he dies, Thisbe appears and sees her lover dead. In lines 147-150, Ovid writes, "Quae postquam vestemque suam cognovit et ense vidit ebur vacuum, ‘tua te manus’ inquit ‘amorque perdidit, infelix! est et mihi fortis in unum hōc manus, est et amor: dābit hǐc in vulnera vires. // After she recognized her veil, she saw the ivory without a sword, she said “your hand and love has destroyed you, o unlucky one! For this one thing I have both a brave hand and the love: this will give forces into wounds." This is the part where she commits suicide. This story would not tragic if Pyramus searched for her. Instead, he was immature to think the possibility. Now moving back to Anderson's first claim, he says that the Metamorphoses is an epic of love. Then, this story would be a naive, young love because the characters were blind and die at the end of the story. Unlike filial love story of Daedalus and Icarus where Daedalus tries to guide young Icarus, this story does not have a mature person guiding young lovers. This is why the lovers were doomed from the beginning, and the story fits in "an epic of love" as naive love.

ryan2 said...

Anderson's commentary about the Ovid's Pyramus and Thisbe being an "epic of love" is right on. An epic is described as a "An extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero." In an epic of love, instead of celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero it is a celebration of the power of love. One example of this in Ovid's poem is in line 151 to 153: "persequar extinctum letique miserrima dicar causa comesque tui: quique a me morte revelli heu sola poteras, poteris nec morte revelli." which translates "I’ll accompany [you] perished, and I most wretched will be said your death’s cause and companion of you: you who could be torn from me alas by death alone, nor can you be torn away by death." This is a demonstration of what love is capable of doing. The two lovers are willing to die for each other. This alone is the greatest celebration of what love can do.
The second claim that this is a naive view of love is shown by the inability of the lovers to think rationally when under pressure. The same lines that are quoted above also demonstrate this idea. Any person that is willing to die for another that does not know for sure that they are dead is not thinking with their minds, but with their heart. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it is occasionally dangerous as shown by Ovid.

Sanjay2 said...

Pyramus and Thisbe is a story of young love that,"fissus erat tenui rima, quam duxerat olim,/ cum fieret, paries domui communis utrique/id vitium nulli per saecula longa notatum—/quid non sentit amor?—primi vidistis amantes." A wall that had been split by a thin crack, which it had received,(the passions) when it (the wall) was made, (was) common to each house.This love which is,"sed vetuere patres; quod non potuere vetare" But (their) fathers forbade it, that thing which could not be forbidden. While the story shows a impatient aspect of their love, it is a love nevertheless. This love becomes epic when the two lovers become victims of fate, and tragivally sacrifice themselves for this young inexperienced love.
While this love is young and inexperienced, it does have many aspects of it that can be used in any mature relationship. One of these ideas is the fact that Thisbe was made bold by love, "audacem faciebat amor". I think in any relationship, especially one that involves love, it is important that one make desicions that are bold and new. Another aspect of this love that is important is another one of the small transformation pieces;"tempore crevit amor" or love grew with time. I think that this is another very important aspect of any love, that it must be true and unforced, that it must grow over a long period of time. The last aspect of this story that is mature is the final scene. Thisbe states," persequar extinctum letique miserrima dicar/ causa comesque tui" I will join the perished you, and I most wretched will be said your cause of death and companion of. This aspect is one that is shared by any elderly couple, te union in life and in death. While this may be idealistic, it is romantic and shows her tre devotion to their blossoming love.

Yayu2 said...

Pyramus and Thisbe is part of a whole collection of stories that make the Metamorphoses an epic of love. In previous stories like Apollo and Daphne, Ovid shows how love and infatuation will not lead to anything. Then in Daedalus and Icarus, Ovid is able to correctly capture the familial love and feeling as Daedalus realizes that he will lose his son. Each individual story explores some aspect of love and teaches the readers an important lesson. Likewise, Pyramus and Thisbe match Mr. Anderson’s definition of an epic of love since it explores human love through a variety of narratives. In lines 60-62, Ovid says, “Taedae quoque iure coissent, sed vetuere patres; quod non potuere vetare, ex aequo captis ardebant mentibus ambo.” (marriage torches also would have joined them in bond, but their parents forbade it. That which they could not forbid, both with captivated minds were inflamed with love on an equality.) The story clearly shows the love they have for each other and the problem that they have to overcome. So as they try to solve their problem and fulfill their love, they demonstrate the epic because they show the readers though narratives what happens with naïve human love.
The story of Pyramus and Thisbe shows the idea of young and naïve love. There is nothing wrong with both of them falling in love and speaking through the wall, but when they tried to take action, they showed how immature and underdeveloped they were. In lines 88-90, Ovid says, "conveniant ad busta Nini, lateantque sub umbra arboris (arbor ibi niveis uberrima pomis, ardua morus, erat, gelido contermina fonti)." (that they should come together at the tomb of Ninus, and conceal themselves beneath the shade of a tree; there was a tree most fruitful in white fruits, a lofty mulberry, neighboring to a cold fountain.) From this excerpt, the lovers finally realize that in order to be together, they have to run away from their forbidding parents; however, they could have developed themselves more and chose a safer spot than meeting in the dead of night in a place where monsters lurk. It is because of their badly chosen location and Pyramus's lateness that resulted in their death. Pyramus's tragic flaw is that he arrives late, which causes him to sees Thisbe's bloody cloak. All would have still been ok if he had not jumped to conclusions. In lines 110-112, Pyramus said, "Nostra nocens anima est. Ego te, miseranda, peremi, in loca plena metus qui iussi nocte venires nec prior huc veni." (my soul is guilty; I have slain you, unhappy girl, I who bade that you should come by night into places full of fear, and did not come hither before you.) It is great that Pyramus realizes that the meeting place was very dangerous and that they should have picked a different place, but he quickly presumed that Thisbe is dead. He did not try to find her or call out to her but immediately decides to commit suicide to follow her. If he had been more mature and reasonable, then he would have at least tried to search for her to make sure before seeking death. All they were really thinking about was being together for eternity. They could have succeeded and had a happy life if only they were more mature. I really like lines 155-161, “o multum miseri meus illiusque parentes, ut quos certus amor, quos hora novissima iunxit, componi tumulo non invideatis eodem. At tu, quae ramis arbor miserabile corpus nunc tegis unius, mox es tectura duorum, signa tene caedis pullosque et luctibus aptos semper habe fetus, gemini monimenta cruoris.” (Oh parents very wretched, mine and his, that you begrudge not, whom late love, whom their last hour has joined, may be placed together in the same tomb. But you, oh tree, which now cover with your branches the wretched body of one, and soon about to cover that of two, keep marks of our death, and forever have fruits dark and suited to mourning, memorials of the blood of two.) Although through most of the story they were immature and needed further development, I think this speech by Thisbe was effective as she showed that she had to strength to follow Pyramus and to overcome their parents because they will be together in death.
Overall, the story of Pyramus and Thisbe turned out to be a tragedy because they were immature and did not fully comprehend the situation before performing actions. If they could have developed a bit more, then they might not have died. Also their story fits into the epic of love because it shows another example of love and its outcomes through many narrations.

jrog08 said...

This story fits in an epic of love because it describes one of the many aspects of love. This particular story of Pyramus and Thisbe describes young, immature love that ends in tragedy, a familiar theme via Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It elaborates on the passions and deep feelings of young lovers misunderstood by their parents and forbidden to see each other and because Ovid examines this issue in Pyramus and Thisbe, it can fit well into an “epic of love”.
However, certain traits of both main characters can be altered to provide a more mature presentation of love. For instance, when Pyramus finds the bloodstained veil of Thisbe, “Velamina Thisbes tollit, et ad pactae secum fert arboris umbram, utque dedit notae lacrimas, dedit oscula vesti” or “He raised the veil of Thisbe and brought himself to the shadow of the agreed upon tree and as he gave tears, he gave kisses to the known garment” this shows his irrationality in immediately thinking that Thisbe is dead.
A more mature presentation of love would have made Pyramus stop and think before jumping to the conclusion of death, and this flaw only adds to the tragedy of the story. The same could be said of Thisbe when she immediately decides to kill herself upon seeing Pyramus’ dead body. A more mature presentation would have given Thisbe the ability to process through the situation and realize that Pyramus’ death is not the be all and end all of her life, but that is not to be in young love. So, to provide a more mature presentation of love, the traits of the characters would have to be altered to make them more rational so that they could then process the information given at the time and not jump to irrational conclusions and the consequences that those decisions bring.

Will Ravon said...

Ovid's Pyramus and Thisbe is can be considered an "epic of love" because of the effects of the story. In lines 164 and 165 it says,
"Vota tamen tetigere deos, tetigere parentes: nam color in pomo est, ubi permaturuit, ater..."

Which translates,
"Yet the vows touched the gods, they touched the parents: for the dark color is in the fruit, when it ripens..."

Most epic poems or stories explain a characteristic of nature, such as the color of a mulberry tree. Other indications are usually the longevity of the story; this story is specifically retold in a parody in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and by Geoffrey Chaucer in the "Legend of Good Women." Also, the story inspires Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", which is considered by some to be an "epic of love." Such examples cannot be taken lightly and clearly define this story/poem as an "epic of love."

Jay2 said...

“Pyramus and Thisbe” relates a perfect example of infatuation, thus making it a fine entry into a work designed to showcase the many types of love via myths and tales.

As far as it being a “naïve presentation of love” I feel that it is more a presentation of naïve love. In the first line he refers to Pyramus as “iuvenum pulcherrimus” or “the most handsome of young men” and Thisbe as “praelata puellis” or “preferred more than other young girls.” Both of these serve as introductions for its specific character and both of them refer to the character as a young man or woman.

The story also shows them as being young. They are relegated to being satisfied by only talking through a cracked wall or with signs and head nods in public because they are both still under the ward of their disapproving parents. While a girl would have been under the care of her father until marriage, men often left their father’s home in their early twenties, meaning that Pyramus would have been around twenty with Thisbe quite possibly much younger.

The fact that they are both still under the supervision of their parents is also possibly Ovid saying that the poem’s eventual, tragic outcome was not the fault of the lovers, but rather the fault of the lovers’ parents. His message being that parents should have more concern for the feelings of their children or be forced to face the consequences.