Thursday, October 24, 2013

History mystery:The Intriguing Roman Tale of Eros and Psyche

A king and a queen, the rulers of an unknown city had three daughters of great beauty while the youngest, Psyche, was born with exceptional beauty who was admired by men both far and near. According to some it is believed that she was the second coming of Venus or the daughter of Venus from an unusual union of goddess and mortal The intriguing story of Eros and Psyche is a folktale of ancient Greco Roman world which is written in Roman style though Psyche retains her Greek name. Psyche according to Greek Mythology, was the deification of the human soul and is portrayed in ancient mosaics as the goddess with wings of a butterfly since psyche in ancient Greek means butterfly and according to Greek word psyche is related to life or animated force, spirit, soul and breath, Eros and Aphrodite are called by their Latin names – Cupid and Venus where Cupid is portrayed as a young adult instead of a child. The story relates the struggle for love and trust between Eros and Psyche and Aphrodite became jealous of the mortal princess’s beauty when her altars were left barren while men worshiped a mere human woman instead and made offerings and prayed to her. Hence she commanded her son Eros who was the god of love, to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest person on earth.

Eros and Psyche 2
On the contrary, it turned out that Eros himself fell in love with her and was completely mesmerized by her beauty. The two sisters of Psyche who were married were envious of her though Psyche was yet to find the love of her heart. Her father suspecting that they had incurred the wrath of the gods consulted the oracle of Apollo who informed the king that he should not expect a human son in law, but a dragon like creature whose face she would not see. This news was not what her parents had expected and they were very sadden over it, but all the same, they proceeded with the arrangement of the marriage of their daughter with the beast. After the wedding, Psyche could be with her husband only at night and his tenderness and immense love for her, made Psyche extremely happy and her expectations beyond her dreams. She often longed to meet her family and one fine day Eros relented and invited her two sisters to his palace. Psyche confided with her sisters and informed them of the sadness she felt on not seeing his face. The sisters on seeing the sight of the palace and all the richness it contained were filled with envy and maliciously informed her that she was being fooled by her husband and he was a fearsome monster from whose clutches she should escape.

Psyche’s bliss got ruined by the visit of her jealous sisters who caused her to betray the trust of her husband who seemed to be not only an ugly beast but one day would kill her and that she should kill him in order to save herself. It took Psyche some time to get convinced on what her sisters told her since she had not faced any kind of dread or fear at the hands of her husband. Psyche finally decided to take their advice and she decided to betray her husband by plotting to kill him one night. Taking the knife in her hands and an oil lamp she set out with her plan to murder her husband and when the light of the lamp fell on the face of her husband, she sought the face of the handsome god Eros with two white wings.

On seeing him she was not at all afraid but taken by surprise and in confusion, she spilled the oil from the lamp on his face and Eros seeing the knife and the lamp in her hand flies away on his two white wings, informing Psyche that he had been betrayed and wounded by her and that their relationship which is ruined will never be the same again/ Eros leaves his wife Psyche who in turn is very upset over the whole episode and is filled with grief over what she had done. She goes in search of her lost love wandering all over the earth. She is so filled with despair that at one point of time she runs to a river and throws herself in the water but Pan the god of shepherds saves her and pulls her out of the water.

While searching for her lost lover, she is advised to beg Aphrodite who has imprisoned Eros in the Palace for an opportunity to meet him and Aphrodite suggests her three impossible tasks to be performed to prove her love for Eros. With all intent and purpose to meet her lover she fearless undertakes to accomplish the two tasks given to her. The third task to be performed was to go to Hades or underworld and bring along the box with the elixir of beauty back to Aphrodite with the instructions not to open the box but instead of the elixir it was Morpheus, the god of sleep and dreams which was hidden in the box. Psyche being curious opened the box and fell into a deep slumber. When Eros her lover got to know of what had happened he approached Zeus and begged him to save his love Psyche. Zeus in his turn was amazed by their love for one another, relented and permitted them to meet once again. He even went further by making Psyche immortal in order that the two lovers could be together forever.

They are happily joined together once again and together they have a daughter by the name Voluptas or Hedone which means physical pleasure or bliss. This is the story of two unusual beings that come together in an unusual situation and their love story is filled with mysteries which are gradually unraveled bringing about a happy ending of a love that is true though each of them undergo a trail of different form to prove the depth of the love they have for each other.

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