The story of Orpheus is important to society and literature. The myth confirms that no god or mortal could resist his music and even the rocks and trees would move themselves to be near him. According to some ancient texts, Orpheus is accredited to have taught agriculture, writing and medicine to the mankind.
Eurydice is a deceased oak nymph and the former wife of the musician Orpheus. Despite having qualities of the gods and other immortals, she died from a snake bite and was taken to the underworld. The grieving Orpheus ventured to the Underworld to plea for her return.
Orpheus charmed Lord Hades with his music and was given permission to take Eurydice back to the surface, under one condition. Orpheus was not to look back at her until after he had left the underworld. Ultimately he succumbed to his own insecurities. Looking back directly always incurs a penalty. Eurydice was forced to remain in the land of the dead, a the victim of her husband’s weakness.
She had been left in her own private corner of Asphodel. It was where she was to spend eternity; singing and cooking with the help of the river Phlegethon’s heat. Her former husband remained a sore subject for her. If interacted with, she would offer Zagreus a selection of Underworld delicacies designed to boost his Boons – favours or upgrades from the Gods.
Myth or reality:
Throughout history Eurydice has been portrayed as a voiceless cypher next to the vocal brilliance of her husband Orpheus.
Three times the sun had ended the year, in watery Pisces. And Orpheus had abstained from the love of women. And it is very possible that he was the first of the Thracian people to transfer his love to young boys. To enjoy their brief springtime, and early flowering, this side of manhood.
As children, we remember particular versions of myths as if they were the definitive ones. It is only later in life when children discover there are no “original” myths or fairy tales. They are thousands of variations passed down through literature and oral tradition.
Adjustment to loss is an inevitable part of human life. The delicate balance between self-love and sacrifice, self-respect and empathy, woven into a partnership. Early myths imagined Eurydice simply as Orpheus’ lost companion.
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