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Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche

5. The Ending of the Novel: Redemption for Lucius?

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the ending of novel, where Lucius gives up "slavish pleasures" to become a devotee of Isis. In particular, we focus on: (i) Apuleius' own religious and philosophical beliefs; (ii) the Mysteries of Isis and Osiris, the importance of order, and the figure of the donkey as the emblem of Seth, the god of chaos and disorder; (iii) what happens in Book 11 of Apuleius' Metamorphoses; (iv) the themes of fortune, enslavement, vision and blindness; and (v) the extent to which Lucius has truly changed for the better by the end of the novel.


In this course, Professor Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow University) explores the story of Cupid and Psyche in Apuleius' Metamorphoses. In the first module, we provide a brief introduction to Apuleius and his Metamorphoses, before turning in the second and third modules to the genre of the Metamorphoses, its title(s) – including its more famous 'unofficial' title, The Golden Ass – and its overarching structure. After that, in the fourth module, we think about the Greek original on which Apuleius' text is based, before turning in the fifth module to consider the (unusual) final book of the novel, in which Lucius becomes a priest of Isis. In the sixth module, we think about some of the many literary allusions in Apuleius' text – including the echoes of Virgil, Ovid and Greek Tragedy. Finally, in the seventh and eighth modules, we go through two sections of the set text line by line, providing close reading and analysis – 5.11 and 5.22-23.


Costas Panayotakis is Professor of Latin at Glasgow University. His research interests are on Latin fiction, especially of the Neronian period, and on Roman comic theatre of the Republic. He is currently working on a critical edition of the fragments of Fabula Atellana and a translation and commentary on the sententiae of the Syrian mime-writer Publilius.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Panayotakis, C. (2021, February 19). Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche - The Ending of the Novel: Redemption for Lucius? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Panayotakis, C. "Apuleius: Cupid and Psyche – The Ending of the Novel: Redemption for Lucius?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 19 Feb 2021,