if only I’d offered my maidenhood up to the love of Apollo

Ovid manipulates the story of The Aeneid so that certain elements of the story are underplayed and certain elements are inserted into his new account of the story. In The Metamorpheses, there is an added description of Sibyll’s past. Sibyll explains that she became a decrepit old woman because she asked to be as old as the number of grains of sand that she was holding in her hand but did not attain youthful immortality because she did not sleep with Apollo.

Ovid is able to complicate the story of Aeneas by giving the reader a backdrop to the story of Sibyll. By creating this tragic story of Sibyll, we are able to have a more complicated understanding of Aeneas. On the one hand, we see that the opportunity and situation that Aeneas is in is something that he should be grateful for. He is given an opportunity by the Gods to find a great empire in his youth. His youthful expedition to go on this journey is exciting and profound, an expedition that would make anyone excited to live life. Aeneas is on a new and exciting episode of his life. This is a clear juxtaposition from Sibyll. Sadly for Sibyll she is wasting away her years until she will become nothingness. Sibyll says herself, "The time will arrive when the length of days shall shrink my body from all it has been to a tiny frame, and my age-worn limbs be reduced to the weight of a feather. (146-152)" As a result of Sibyll we see how enthusiastic and grateful Aeneas should be for the opportunity that he has to embark on this journey. But on the other hand we also wonder whether Aeneas is just as trapped as Sibyll is in his life. We wonder whether Ovid put Sibyll into the Metamorpheses to illuminate the imprisonment that Aeneas might also feel. Aeneas is deemed by the Gods that must find Rome and it seems as though Aeneas has no choice but to follow the will of the Gods. He might even feel more trapped than Sibyll because it was her choice to defy a God but Aeneas follow the Gods through everything.

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