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Humanities LibreTexts 3.562–71

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    ite citi’ (famulis hoc imperat), ‘ite ducemque
    attrahite huc vinctum! iussis mora segnis abesto!’
    hunc avus, hunc Athamas, hunc cetera turba suorum
    corripiunt dictis frustraque inhibere laborant.                                     565
    acrior admonitu est inritaturque retenta
    et crescit rabies moderaminaque ipsa nocebant:
    sic ego torrentem, qua nil obstabat eunti,
    lenius et modico strepitu decurrere vidi;
    at quacumque trabes obstructaque saxa tenebant,                             570
    spumeus et fervens et ab obice saevior ibat.

    Study Questions

    • Parse ite (562). What is the rhetorical effect of its repetition (ite — ite)?
    • What is the rhetorical effect of the parenthesis famulis hoc imperat?
    • Parse vinctum (563).
    • What noun does the adjective segnis (563) modify?
    • Parse abesto (563).
    • Ponder Ovid’s use of tense in 564–67: corripiunt — laborant — est —inritatur — crescit — nocebant.
    • What noun do the attributes acrior and retenta (566) modify? What is the rhetorical effect of this kind of placement?
    • Parse eunti (568). What noun does it modify?
    • Parse lenius (569).
    • What is the subject of ibat (571)?

    Stylistic Appreciation

    • What is the technical term for the repetition of hunc (564)? What is its rhetorical effect here?
    • Discuss Ovid’s use of the simile in lines 568–71: how do the components of the simile match up to the surrounding narrative? How does Ovid draw on nature to illustrate an emotional condition?
    • Who makes the claim of autopsy (ego … vidi) and what effect does this have?

    Discussion Points

    Does the phenomenon Ovid here describes, i.e. that attempts at diffusing Pentheus’ anger actually worsen his condition, ring psychologically true? Why would that be the case? Can you think of other literary figures (or real-life persons) who manifest similar tendencies?

    famulus, -i, m servant, attendant
    attraho, -here, -xi, -ctum to draw with force, drag in
    vincio, -cire, vinxi, vinctum to tie up, bind
    [cf. vinco, -ere, vici, victum to win, conquer]
    mora, -ae, f delay
    segnis, -is, -e slothful, inactive, sluggish
    avus, -i, m. grandfather
    corripio, -ipere, -ipui, -eptum to seize, grasp
    to censure, rebuke, find fault with
    inrito, -are, -avi, -atum to move to anger, provoke, annoy
    retineo, -ere, -ui, retentum to hold fast, detain; delay, check
    moderamen, -inis, n. control
    torrens, -ntis, m. rushing stream, torrent
    strepitus, -us, m noise, clamour, uproar, din, turmoil
    trabs, -bis, f. tree-trunk, beam
    obstruo, -xi, -ctum to build before or against;
    to impede, obstruct, barricade
    saxa obstructa stones placed in the way
    obex, -icis, m./f. bar, bolt; barrier, obstacle 3.562–71 is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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