restricted access Inscribed Consent: Reading, Writing, and Performative Speech in Heroides 20

Heroides 20 and 21 display dynamics of persuasion and textual communication as Ovid fully realizes the epistolary nature of the myth of Acontius and Cydippe, defined by the potential power of writing. In Heroides 20, Acontius furthers his strategy with the apple. He scripts first her acceptance of him as lover, then her dismissal of her betrothed, again using her reading voice as a tool in his manipulation of her. The words he provides for her express the desire he is trying to elicit with this letter, and as she reads them she fulfills the role of his ideal elegiac mistress.