‘Venus and Adonis’ reworked: transformations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in William Shakespeare’s ‘Venus and Adonis’ and J. M. W. Turner’s ‘Adonis Departing for the Chase’. Laura Bouttell
Transformation in Ovid’s Metamorphoses is paradoxical, a process of change that fixes in time a specific narrative moment. This work considers two works which adapt Ovid’s tale of Venus and Adonis. When revisioned by Shakespeare and Turner, Venus and Adonis, just as in Ovid’s myth, become fixed in time, though in the different forms of word and image. This paper will posit that these two artefacts, in reimagining the story of Venus and Adonis, both reject Ovid’s notion of transformation as an ‘enduring memorial’ to a love torn apart by death and instead fix narrative attention on moments of apparent movement, which
forever commemorate the carnal sexuality of the pairing.