Essay about The Orpheus Myth

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Scholars know Greek mythology as a collection of tales regarding gods and heroes alike, detailing specifically the interactions between human beings and gods and the interactions of the gods themselves. Supernatural phenomena at the hands of the gods became the human explanation for natural events, such as lightning, the changing of seasons, etc. While some critics and literary historians view the role of human beings in Greek mythology as that of simply pawns in the gods’ design, there are others still that argue on the side of humanity’s importance in the myths, giving them more dignity and their roles more purpose. Humans often were used as a control or contrast for the power and might of the gods. Those familiar with the myth of Orpheus …show more content…
Performer of many awesome feats, Orpheus sailed with Jason and Theseus aboard the celebrated Argonaut, and when the fated ship sailed past the island of the Sirens, it was Orpheus and his song that kept them safe from harm (James 1997). Upon returning from this journey, Orpheus married a beautiful young woman called Eurydice. The two were so in love that they spent every available hour with one another. One version of their tragic tale states that the couple was frolicking with one another in a meadow when Eurydice was bitten by a poisonous serpent. When she subsequently died, Orpheus became so bereaved and absolutely lost with grief that he filled the air with dirges.
The despondent man trekked down to the underworld and beseeched Hades and Persephone to allow him to take Eurydice back to the surface with him so that they could have a second chance to be with one another and live a long, happy life. Orpheus played a song for the royalty of the underworld and, though many had come for deceased spouses before and failed, the two were so moved by his song that they allowed him to take Eurydice home, but only if he did not take a single look back at her along the way. “So Orpheus then received his wife; and Pluto told him he might now ascend from these Avernian vales up to the light, with his Eurydice; but, if he turned his eyes to look at her, the gift of her delivery would be lost” (Ovid 382-388). As fate would have it,…

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