Broken up into various tales carrying a recurring theme of love, Metamorphoses was a major influence on medieval writers. One of the tales from the collection was adapted by Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales, while Shakespeare, whose Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest all bear the influence of various tales, owed a considerable debt to Ovid, too.   

Metamorphoses also inspired Spanish poet Luis de Góngora and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, as well as composers Strauss, Handel and Britten. The tales were again resurrected at the end of the 20th century by the then poet laureate Ted Hughes, whose Tales from Ovid: Twenty-Four Passages from the Metamorphoses was a major literary event. Hughes died shortly after publication, but the flame was carried on through a stage adaptation performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Metamorphoses by Ovid