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First performed in the 1580s, Love's Metamorphosis is widely regarded as the most elegantly structured of Lyly's plays.
The plot looks back to the account of Erisichthon's punishment for the desecration of Ceres' grove in Ovid's Metamorphosis, but the Ovidian story is woven into a wider network of interests turning upon aspects of love.
A series of allusions to earlier Lylian compositions allows the play to be viewed in terms of a continuum of work, exploring the status of Cupid and the nature and extent of his power.
The play is notable for the articulate resistance offered by the female characters towards the desires of their lovers and the wishes of authority figures, while Protea, is of particular interest to feminist criticism as a striking example of a woman empowered rather than marginalised by the loss of her virgin state.
Revived towards the close of the sixteenth century, the play is of importance to theatre historians in that it is the only one of Lyly's comedies known to have passed from Paul's to a different troupe.
It is newly edited here from the sole early witness, the quarto of 1601. -- .
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