In today’s post we bring you a brief cap on the story of Pyramus and Thisbe which is basically an ancient love story written by the Roman writer Publius Ovidius Naso, commonly known as Ovid. This story is a part of Ovid’s narrative poems that appeared in the form of fifteen books called as ‘Metamorphoses’.
This compilation was completed in 8 A.D. and that’s when this great masterwork story came forward. Since that time it has been immensely popular till date.
Who was Ovid and When did he Write the Story of Pyramus and Thisbe?
The great writer was born on the date of 20th March 43 B.C. in Italy. He came to Rome for pursuing his studies. His father wanted him to join politics, but he decided to write poetry because he had a strong passion for it.
His legendary poetic work came to influence many famous writers like Shakespeare, Milton etc. His work is called as one of the best representatives of Latin literature. The poet died in 17 A.D.
Unfolding the Tragic Love Story
Blossoming of Love
This story is based in Babylon. Thisbe is the young girl and Pyramus is the young boy. Both of them live in houses that are located side by side each other. Their family does not approve of their love.
They are warned not to even talk with one another. Regardless of this warning, the lovers’ love continues to bloom. They used to talk clandestinely to one another through a hole that was created in the wall that divided their houses.
Deciding Upon Meeting in the Cave
Conversing through the small hole was simply not enough for the lovers. So they decide to meet secretly in a cave. Thisbe leaves early and on her way she meets a ferocious lion who tries to harm her. Thisbe runs away from him but accidently drops her scarf there, which the lion destroys into pieces.
Death of the Hero (Pyramus)
On the other side, Pyramus gets late in reaching the cave and on the way he finds the destructed scarf of Thisbe and presumes that Thisbe has died. In this painful moment, he decides that he can live no longer without her. Pyramus seizes his sword and takes his own life.
Death of the Heroine
Thisbe keeps on waiting for Pyramus and ultimately leaves the cave to check on Pyramus. On the way, she finds her lover’s body absorbed in blood. Unable to imagine living without her lover, Thisbe decides to take her life too. She picks up the sword and kills herself.
Color of Mulberry
The gods were extremely grieved on this love story. Because of this painful death the mulberry fruit which used to be white in color, changed its color to red – representing the blood littered bodies of these lovers who could never get united when they were alive, but finally got unified in the peace and silence of death. Gods changed the color of the fruit so that whoever sees the Mulberry sends his good wishes to the lovers.
What is ‘Metamorphoses’ All About?
As mentioned earlier, Metamophoses can be basically called a long narrative poem that is divided into fifteen books. The story of Pyramus and Thisbe comes in the fourth book.
Relevance of the Title with the Stories
In this compilation, Ovid discusses various stories which all pertain the same theme that how the characters go through a transformation (connotation that comes from the title itself – ‘Metamorphoses’)
Metamorphoses became extremely famous in the Augustan age. And it is also counted as one of the most popularly read books in the age of Renaissance. The book was originally in Latin language but later on was translated into English language.