ἐν τρισὶν μορφαῖσιν. The power of self-transformation, which Greek fancy gave especially to deities of water, was a lively symbol of the unstable element. Proteus exerts that power against Menelaus ( Od.4. 456), Nereus against Heracles ( Apollod.2. 5. 11), Thetis against Peleus (schol. Pind. N.3. 55, Soph. fr. 155 and 556). Each is desperate, and must try every resource. And so, here, self-change expresses passionate importunity. Mythology found a reflex in daily speech when Greeks said, “παντοῖος γίγνεται δεόμενος”.
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