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Scholarly Article

Angshuman Mukhopadhyay

Ovid’s Bacchus: A Study in Gender Fluidity

Ovid, Bacchus, gender, hypermasculinity, binary


In the history of literary and pictorial art, the depiction of Bacchus has always had a feminine streak. Ovid’s portrayal of Bacchus in the Metamorphoses is no exception. However, Ovid’s perception of the god born to a human mother and a divine father is polyvalent; it changes interestingly in Ars Amatoria. The Metamorphoses in general (and the third book in particular) has treated the figure of Bacchus in an intriguing fashion, pitted against the hypermasculinity of Pentheus that largely reflects the Augustan Roman ideals of gender and sexuality. The paper tries to assess the gender fluidity in the mythical construct of Bacchus by contextualising Ovid’s depiction of the character in the Metamorphoses in terms of some Roman terms related to gender prevalent at the time when the text was written, and its social and aesthetic resonance.

About the Author

Angshuman Mukhopadhyay is an assistant professor of English in Prafulla Chandra College, Kolkata, India. His area of interest is British drama; he is doing his Ph.D on Edward Bond. Angshuman has published in journals and has contributed book chapters. He has presented papers in national and international seminars.

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