Metamorphosis in Greek Myths

The transformation of human beings to animals, plants, and stones is one of the commonest and most characteristic themes of Greek mythology; whereas many cultures contain some such stories, in none are they so popular as in the Greek myths. Transformations are also some of the most mysterious and fantastic episodes in Greek mythology. Given the intriguing nature of the subject-matter, it is surprising that no study of these stories has ever appeared in English. But this book is unusual in its approach. Studies of Greek myths have usually tended to try to explain them away in terms of some external entity, whether it be some hypothetical ritual, some curious phenomenum of nature or some long-forgotten historical event. The book argues that this attitude ignores what is of most interest about Greek myths - their appeal as stories. The author analyses the various ways in which these stories imagine and explore what it means for a person to change his or her form.