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Procne, Agave and Ino kill their sons in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Procne and her sister Philomela commit their crime in book 6. We argue that their actions are premeditated, conscious and not driven by insanity. The episodes of Agave and Ino (books 3 and 4) are then analyzed retrospectively in the light of Procne and Philomela. Although the Theban mothers' crimes are usually justified and understood as outcomes of Dyonisiac possession and madness, we tease out possibilities for female agency and responsibility, even questioning the general assumption of madness, which could preclude any independent thought and decision making in these women and would reduce them to examples of patriarchal and essential motherhood.