Psyche And Cupid Analysis

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During ancient Rome women were to be good wives. Being a good wife includes loving one’s husband, being loyal and obedient, doing duties, and being chaste, while not desiring freedom or being critical. Apuleius presents female characters in his novel The Golden Ass that both contradict and coincide with the positive and negative models of women found in ancient sources. The story of Psyche and Cupid within the larger novel reinforces the positive traits such as obedience and loyalty. Within the historical sources, several different models of women are presented in both positive and negative lights. Which traits are considered positive and negative comes mainly from the male perspective; those traits that reinforce the husband’s position of …show more content…
These virtues are often displayed on funerary inscriptions. In one such inscription, a husband describes his wife as “loving, chaste, dear, good, loyal, faithful, sweet, most loving,” and in another the husband emphasizes the “chastity and obedience” of his wife (Harvey, 70). Of the six funerary inscriptions presented by Harvey, five mention chastity, three mention loyalty, and two mention obedience (Harvey, 70). Other valued characteristics include love for one’s husband and adherence to duty. These appear in the epitaph of a woman named Claudia where it is stated that “she loved her husband with all her heart” and “she managed the household well” (Shelton, 59). In another inscription, it is stated that the wife “never shirked on her duties” and she had “a loving spirit” (Shelton, 65).
The characteristics that are not desired in women include having too much education, being critical of one’s husband, or desiring so-called freedom. The source “Juvenal’s Satire Against Women” mentions how undesirable a highly educated woman is. Juvenal states, “There should be some details in the books she reads that she does not understand. I hate the woman who reads and re-reads the grammatical dictionary until she has it memorized” (Harvey, 76). While this is intended to be an exaggeration, the basis of his claim is rooted in the opinion of the
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He states, “what these women really desire is the freedom (of, if we should speak truthfully, the license) to do whatever they want” (Harvey, 72). He believes that if women have this freedom, they will become “superior” to their husbands, and would be exactly what he, and the rest of men, fear. Therefore women are more desirable if they do not possess the longing for freedom, as the men will be less threatened in their position of power.
In The Golden Ass, the story of Psyche’s marriage to Cupid presents female characters that fit and contradict the positive and negative models of women. Psyche is presented as a woman with many of the positive traits associated with women. She possesses the positive traits of obedience, loyalty and adherence to duty, chastity, and love for her husband. Although she does contradict them on occasion, as a whole she is a model of desirable traits. Psyche also contradicts the negative trait of being critical of one’s

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