Themes of theater, performance, and illusion course through Metamorphoses 11. The theme of “theater” and its disintegration is established in the opening Orpheus episode and culminates in Ceyx-Alcyone, where Morpheus's self-conscious acting in Alcyone's dream shatters the usual harmony between actor and role. The unveiling of theater is also connected with the unveiling of metamorphosis. This latter disruption, in the Peleus-Thetis episode, involves crucial disclosures about metamorphosis by one metamorphic deity Proteus to defeat the transformations of another (Thetis). These disintegrations are part of connected motifs, wherein art, artist, and metamorphosis are severed into component parts and exposed to view.

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