Un destino paradigmatico. L'ibrido e la necessità del γάμος nel mito di Io

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The main stages in the myth of the Argive Io are seduction by Zeus, being guarded by “all-seeing” Argos, her bovine hybridization and mad wanderings from Argos to Egypt, and finally her return to the human form and the birth of Epaphus, Zeus’ son. The agent of Io’s hybridization is either Zeus or Hera. Another aspect of this myth is the rejection of one’s love – also of marriage – for the purpose of preserving a condition of virginity and of “freedom” that is anomalous for women. If it is the case that Hera is the cause of Io’s evils, the girl herself appears as the paradigm of the unavoidable “yoke” of love and marriage for women, especially in Aeschylus’ Suppliant Women. Io shares the same bovine imagery as Hera (who is βοῶπις, “ox-eyed”), and her myth has substantial similarities with the myth of the Proitids. Both myths highlight the notion of the necessity of marriage (γάμος): Io rids herself of suffering, as a heifer harassed by a gadfly, by means of conceiving a child and bearing it.In the light of the bovine imagery, and in consideration of Io’s representation not just as a heifer-girl, but even as a bull-girl – a hypostasis of Dionysus, associated with sex and fertility – this paper aims at considering Io's hybridity in relation to female sexuality and the social position of women in marriage.
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationΣυναγωνίζεσθαι. Studies in Honour of Guido Avezzù
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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