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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

Virginity as Supplement

In Ovidís Metamorphoses, Diana is portrayed in very contradictory terms, both as virginally pure and verbally aggressive. This contradiction becomes even more clear through the ideas of Jacques Derrida, who describes language in very violent, penetrating terms. Yet Derrida also provides us with a way to explain these seemingly opposing sides of Diana. By viewing language as a supplement to unnatural circumstances, it becomes clear that Diana uses language to protect her unnatural state of being a virgin. Several places throughout Metamorphoses, Ovid presents virginity as unnatural. Thus, in order to preserve this unnatural state, Diana, as well as those who emulate Dianaís ways, must go to drastic measure to supplement their identity. This not only explains her violent words, but it also explains the transformations the other virgins undergo throughout Metamorphoses. The transformations are a supplement to virginity, and they are often very closely linked to language.

Presenter: Caitlin Wall (Staff)
Location: 216 Hartwell
Time: 1:15 pm (Session III)