Ovid’s theme is the transforming power of passion over gods and mortals. These transformations, or metamorphoses, are not sweetly romantic; they are dramatic, terrible and irrevocable. They can represent divine punishment, as when Diana turns Actaeon into a stag; they can provide escape, as when Daphne turns into a laurel tree to flee Apollo’s advances. Through these bodily transformations, the universe is portrayed as a place of continual turbulence. Yet the ultimate shape-shifter is the poem itself. In Ovid’s sinuous and witty narrative, each story flows seamlessly into the next, in a structure that still feels revolutionary.