Self‐Consuming Artists

Maggie Kilgour

in Milton and the Metamorphosis of Ovid

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199589432
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738500 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

Self‐Consuming Artists

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Chapter 4 shows further how Milton uses Ovidian forms to meditate on his own creativity. Like Ovid, Milton fills his work with characters who are doubles for himself. Through the figures of Satan, Sin, Phaethon, and Bellerophon, Milton suggests how the fall has wounded all creativity. Moreover, Milton imagines evil as a version of the poet's creative imitation, which has degenerated into sterile copying fuelled by the force of envy, the traditional enemy and self‐destructive double of all creativity. In the figure of Sin, Milton draws together Ovidian figures for self‐destruction from Narcissus and Scylla, as well as Envy and Minerva. Moreover, in the figure of the narrator, Milton shows how the desire to create is never fully separate from the desire to destroy.

Keywords: creativity; envy; Phaethon; Bellerophon; Scylla; Minerva; Sin; Satan; doubling; creativity; destruction

Chapter.  25099 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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