ORPHEUS & EURYDICE
A LOVE STORY
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MUSIC & MYTH
Throughout history, the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice has been interpreted by many with each investing the story and its figures with symbolism to suit their own purposes by emphasizing certain elements of the myth.
In all tellings of the story, Orpheus is a musician who charms the world - both animate and inanimate objects alike - with his song.
In the fifth century B.C., the story adds a new element - the death of Orpheus' wife, Eurydice, and his attempt to rescue her from the underworld.
In the best-known version of the story, Orpheus persuades the inhabitants of the underworld to return Eurydice to him, but he ultimately loses her when he looks back at her, violating the rule imposed upon him by the underworld.
Orpheus (オルフェウス, Orufeusu) is a poet of Greek Mythology, commonly known as the 'Master of Strings', referring to his skills with the lyre. In Persona 3, Orpheus is also the initial Persona of the Protagonist.
HistoryEditIn Greek mythology, Orpheus was the son of Thracian king Oeagrus and the muse Calliope (some versions have Orpheus' father as the god Apollo). Apollo, fond of Orpheus, gave him a small golden lyre, which he quickly mastered. Taught verses later to sing by his mother, Orpheus was so skilled at making music that he was called "Master of Strings" and "Father of Songs", capable of such music that even rocks and animals would be compelled to dance.
Upon the death of his wife Eurydice, Orpheus was so distraught that his mournful singing brought nymphs and gods to tears. Traveling to the underworld, he used his music to soften the hearts of Hades and Persephone, who allowed him to bring his wife back to the upper world on the condition that he walk in front and not look back until they had both arrived on the surface. In his anxiety, Orpheus looked back, and saw his wife vanish, this time forever.
At the time of his death, Orpheus had become an apostate, spurning all gods save for Apollo, whom he thanked for his golden lyre. For this he was ripped apart by Dionysian Maenads (although according to other versions, he is ripped apart for refusing to participate in their drunken (and often cannibalistic) orgies, on account of remaining committed to his lost lover), only his head and lyre remaining. His head floated down the Hebrus, continuing to sing sad songs until it was buried on the island of Lesbos, while his lyre was carried to the sky by the muses and placed among the stars.
True to his legend, Orpheus is the archetypal musician in literacy and lore, and he stands for foolish human folly (for turning back out of doubt) well as sacrifice (for dying for Eurydice).