Dreams and Superstition: A Reinterpretation of Satire in Apuleius, Metamorphoses 11


  • Nathan Watson


This paper argues that Apuleius satirises superstitious behaviour with Lucius’ religious experience in Metamorphoses Book 11. Unlike previous interpretations of satire that focus upon priestly deception and religious gullibility, this paper argues that Lucius’ relationship to the gods via his dreams reveals an unphilosophical attitude and a lack of insight. As such, the identification of Apuleius and Lucius at 11,27 aids the satire by drawing a contrast between author and protagonist that is most apparent when viewed alongside Apuleius’ account of himself as a philosopher in the Apologia. Apuleius thus demonstrates that whilst Lucius’ appearance has changed, he remains the same on the inside.

Nathan Watson is currently a tutor of Classics at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, where he has recently completed his MA thesis, From Philosophising Ass to Asinine Philosopher: Satire in Book 11 of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses. He plans to continue his research on the works of Apuleius.