Cupid and Psyche: Myth or Folktale? Essay

1029 Words Nov 14th, 2005 5 Pages
When looking at the definitions of folktales and myths, we can conclude that there is a very fine line between the two. Myth can be defined as "… to do with the gods and their actions, with creation, and with the general nature of the universe and of the earth." (Thompson, 106) On the other hand, some might say that folktale is defined as an anonymous story, that originates and circulates orally among a people (Harris and Platzner, 1054), or even that folktales involve a fairy god mother and dancing mice. However, there seems to be many similarities between the two concepts, and the story of Eros and Psyche is no exception. This story entails many mythic characteristics as well as many features of a folktale. Though the story comprises …show more content…
This is also present in Beauty and the Beast, when Belle arrives to the Beast's palace, surrounded by luxury and kindness. (Voegelin, 129) Common to the story of "Cinderella", Psyche is forbidden to see her husband by her evil mother-in-law (Aphrodite) and must overcome obstacles in order to achieve internal happiness. A common characteristic of folktales are that the major character of the story must overcome obstacles and challenges to get what they desire. The story of Eros and Psyche is no exception. Psyche is given four tasks from Aphrodite to complete before she can be considered a suitable wife for her son, Eros. One of the most common folktale stories is that of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". In the tale of Snow White, the Queen is displeased in learning that Snow White, white as snow, red as blood and black as ebony, is the "…fairest one of all". (Grimm, 83) In the story of Psyche, Aphrodite is upset with the fact that Psyche, a measly mortal, is said to be more beautiful than her. Both Aphrodite and the Queen, full of anger and jealousy plan out their revenge on their competition. Another major parallel with these two stories is the fact that both Psyche and Snow White are put into a deep sleep in which they are only awaken by their "princes" (Grimm, 89). These many characteristics that show up through out many different tales is pure evidence that this story is much more like a folktale, than a myth.
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