What is the victim’s role in Ovid’s Metamorphoses?
Furthermore, the victims often suffer a second blaming when the episode caused them to incur into the wrath of jealous deities -partners of the gods who attacked them: “So this was the crowning insult, adulterous whore, becoming pregnant!” said Juno to Callisto and then turned her into a bear. Sometimes, the blaming appears to remain fresh in the minds of these vengeful deities almost forever, in book 4 -episode Ino and Athamas- Juno is still persecuting Ino -Sémele’s sister- for saving the son of Semele and Jove: “ When Juno saw her, she said to herself in resentment: ‘The son of that harlot, Sémele’ and “All I can do is to weep for sores that are never avenged. Is weeping enough? Must that be the limit to Juno´s sovereignty?”. Somehow, Ino is persecuted just for being Sémele’s sister: “why shouldn’t Ino also be goaded to madness and follow the way of her guilty sisters?”.
The women are portrayed as victims, unable to save themselves without outer help. Daphne, without power to escape from Apollo, ask her father to turn her into a tree “Help me, Father! If rivers have power over nature, mar the beauty which made me admired too well, by changing my form!”. This can be perceived as a decision, an attempt to decide her future. She prefers to remain ‘untouched’ by anybody: “I want to remain a virgin forever”. But at the end, Apollo is still touching her: “Tree though she was, Apollo still loved her. Caressing the trunk with his hand” and transform her new from -the Laurel- in his symbol: “Since you cannot be mine in wedlock, you must at least be Apollo’s tree. It is you who will always be twined in my hair” although according to Barolsky, “The ‘everlasting glory’ of the laurel is another way of saying the immortality granted by poetry, in this case this poetry, immortalising Daphne, a part of Ovid’s own perpetuum carmen, which is an ‘everlasting’ as well as a ‘continuous song’”.