Saturday, April 5, 2014

Eros and Psyche #atozchallenge

E - Eros is the Greek God of Love and one of my all-time favorites. You might know him as his Roman counterpart, Cupid. Unlike pop culture would have you believe, however, Eros isn't that pain in the butt man-baby in a diaper. He's much more interesting than that!

And so is his story, recounted below.

Le Ravissement de Psyche, 1895
Psyche was the youngest daughter of a king, and as she grew, so did her beauty. The goddess Aphrodite (aka Venus) felt threatened by this mortal beauty, as her followers spoke so highly of Psyche, so she devised a plan to humiliate Psyche. Aphrodite sent Eros, her son, to prick Psyche with an arrow, and planned to present her an ugly beast when she woke so that she'd fall in love with this hideous creature and become the laughingstock of the kingdom.

But Eros accidentally pricked himself with the arrow, and instantly fell madly in love with Psyche, thus foiling his mother's plan.

Aphrodite was furious and sent a plague to the land, telling the people their misery would ease only if they sacrificed Psyche. In despair, her father took her into the mountains and tied her to a tree for some beast to eat. But Eros whisked Psyche away to his palace with the wind. He made himself invisible and wed Psyche, but only after making her promise never to attempt to see his face.

Psyche agreed to this condition, and for a time she and Eros were blissfully happy. But then Psyche invited her sisters to visit her new home. When she confessed to never having seen her husband's face, they convinced her to peek at him, telling her he was a monster who would kill her. Of course, their motive wasn't anything as pure as saving her life... They were simply jealous of the beautiful things Eros bestowed upon his beloved Psyche.

Armed with a knife and candle, that very night, Psyche crept into Eros's bedchamber. She lifted the candle to better see him, and when the light touched his face, she was stunned by his beauty. So stunned, in fact, she dripped candle wax onto him. The pain woke him. Realizing Psyche broke her promise, he left her to roam.

She did so for a long time before finally going to Aphrodite to beg her forgiveness. Aphrodite, not quite over her jealous rage, promised Psyche her aid if Psyche could complete four tasks. Of course, Aphrodite came up with increasingly difficult tasks. They were: sorting a massive pile of seeds, retrieving the Golden Fleece, filling a flask from the River Styx, and returning from the Underworld with Persephone's beauty cream.

Ants helped Psyche sort the seeds. A reed helped her retrieve the Fleece. An eagle helped her fill the flask.

But the fourth task was a trap.

Aphrodite knew Psyche would not be able to resist trying some of the beauty cream herself, so she cursed the box. When Psyche opened it, she fell into a deep sleep.

When Eros found her, he wept over Psyche's prone body, distraught, for he still loved her deeply. He then rushed to Olympus to beg Zeus to intervene. Zeus agreed to do so, and had Mercury bring Psyche to Olympus where he made her a Goddess. Aphrodite wasn't thrilled. But once Psyche got pregnant with Eros's child, Aphrodite reluctantly forgave Psyche. And Psyche and Eros lived happily-ever-after.

***

As I discussed in another post recounting this myth, Eros and Psyche's story is often considered one of the earliest versions of the Beauty and the Beast story we all know and love. I much prefer that tale to the annoying man-baby in a diaper, don't you?

xoxo,
Ayden

PS: Trying to find artwork of a clothed Eros not portrayed as a man-baby is hard work! This was the best I could do.

FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million

4 comments:

  1. Stopping by on the 6th day of the #Challenge while looking for fellow writers. Congratulations on your blog.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Stepheny. I'm heading over now to check out your blog. :)

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  2. This is way better than the cupid image we have today. This is my favorite story so far!

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  3. I love that painting! Don't feel bad about it... and I do much prefer this story. It's really cool! :)

    Alex Hurst, fantasy author in Japan, participating in Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

    ReplyDelete

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