Literature Essays on Orpheus Love
The subject of love has been the subject of many myths and philosophical writings. Perhaps Plato was the philosopher who focused most of his meditations and time in exploring the various types of love and their discerning nature. In general, there are two types of love, common and heavenly love. Common love refers to the sexual love between a man and a woman while heavenly love refers to love that extends beyond the physical desires and involves the mind and soul much like love between a man and a man. The role of love is the topic of this essay and is discussed in the context of the Greek myth the story of Orpheus and Eurydice (White, 149-157).
According to the myth, Orpheus and Eurydice were young lovers who were so deeply in love that they were virtually inseparable. While Eurydice was still alive, they spent their days happily frolicking through the meadows. This shows that love makes one be in ecstasy while in the company of their lover. Moreover, the intensity of their desire was expressed in their dependence on each other, as the two were inseparable either when Eurydice was a live and in her death. One day as Eurydice was running down the meadow a poisonous serpent bit her heel. Soon after, she succumbed to the poison and descended to the underworld-the Hades.
Orpheus was the son of the god of music: Apollo. Subsequently Orpheus was bestowed with an exceptional talent of music. So powerful was his gift that the myth claims that as he played his lyre every animate and inanimate thing followed him. Moreover, with his gift he could change the course of the rivers. After the demise of his lover, he composed melancholic tunes that reflected the emptiness he felt in the absence of his lover. This evidences that love makes a person whole and contented with life. As per the ancient myth, he found delight in nothing else in the world and was constantly lamenting his loss through music.
Love compels one to do things that were previously thought impossible. Armed with his divine gifts of music and immortality, Orpheus undertook the long and difficult journey to the depth of the shadowy underworld of Hades to woe the king to release his lover from death. According to the myth, many men had previously attempted unsuccessfully to request the king to allow their loved ones to leave the Hades and take them back to the world of the light. However, his music was so moving that it softened the hard heart of the underworld king compelling him to allow Orpheus to leave with Eurydice on condition that he did not look back to ensure that she was following him. Unfortunately, as they approached the underworld Orpheus glanced back over his shoulders and his lover was snatched again from him.
Love changes one permanently and leaves an emotional scar that even time may fail to heel. As per the myth, the Greeks believed that Orpheus spirit was behind every great sad love song. After he was denied to enter Hades the second time he returned to earth where he lived in solitude and took comfort in little else apart from his lyre until his death. In conclusion, the love between Orpheus and Eurydice was common and heavenly (Anderson, 1-11).
Anderson, William S. “The Artist’s Limits in Ovid: Orpheus, Pygmalion, and Daedalus.” Syllecta Classica 1.1 (1989): 1-11.
White, F. C. “Love and Beauty in Plato’s Symposium.” The Journal of Hellenic Studies 109 (1989): 149-157.