Shakespeare and Ovid

Research output: Book/ReportBook

198 Scopus citations


This is the first comprehensive account of the relationship between Shakespeare and his favourite poet, Ovid. The author examines the full range of Shakespeare's work, identifying Ovid's presence not only in the narrative poems and pastoral comedies, but also in the Sonnets and mature tragedies. He shows how profoundly creative Ovid's influence was, from the raped Lavinia's turning of the pages of the Metamorphoses in Titus Andronicus and the staging of Pyramus and Thisbe in A Midsummer Night's Dream, to the reanimation of Hermione's statue in The Winter's Tale and Prospero's renunciation of his magic in The Tempest. The Heroides are shown to have been vital to Shakespeare's female characters, but it is the Metamorphoses which animate the author's book, just as they animated the whole of Shakespeare's career. This original and elegantly written book reveals Shakespeare as an extraordinarily sophisticated reader of Ovidian myth and as a metamorphic artist as fluid and nimble as his classical original.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages308
ISBN (Electronic)9780191673986
ISBN (Print)0198183240, 9780198183242
StatePublished - Oct 3 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Female characters
  • Heroides
  • Mature tragedies
  • Metamorphoses
  • Narrative poems
  • Ovid
  • Ovidian myth
  • Pastoral comedies
  • Shakespeare
  • Sonnets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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