Orpheus and Eurydice by Czeslaw Milosz

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Music is a very powerful tool that people use throughout life. One of its most important attributes is how it allows people to show their emotion. History is abundant with different myths and legends about such music. The legend of Orpheus and Eurydice is one that strives to show the emotion of the music and melodies performed by a man who is separated from his lover by different worlds. Both Orpheus and Eurydice by Czeslaw Milosz, and Orpheus and Eurydice by John Godfrey Saxe, are great examples of separate depictions that show different emotions from Orpheus's music. Both of these poems show how powerful and compelling music can be, while still keeping the author's originality by showing the emotions in different ways. It may be that music, while having many forms, almost always has the ability to express emotions in a way that affects everyone.
Music can be considered to be like an onion. For one to truly understand it, we must look at all aspects of the person’s life. The foundation of a person's life can be just as important as the outcome of their music. In both poems, Orpheus's love for Eurydice is the foundation for his music. In Saxe's poem, Orpheus was living a joyous life before his wife was tragically taken from his world. After losing Eurydice, the poem says that Orpheus would not "marry another" (Saxe 37). After not being able to forget Eurydice, Orpheus travels to a place called Hades to rescue Eurydice. Milosz forgoes the beautiful love story that occurred before Eurydice's tragic death and brings us straight to Orpheus’s emotions at the gates of Hades. He writes "Only her love warmed him" (Milosz 13). Whether his love for Eurydice is the begging of his quest or the motivation that keeps him going, it is clear t...

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...representation of our lives, then it must have many aspects too. In both of these depictions, Orpheus used the music of his life to affect change. He had a goal and sought to achieve it using music. Even when he missed his goal, he used his music to memorialize his beloved Eurydice. Many may call his melodies sad and depressing, but I believe they are beautiful because they show the depth of his love for Eurydice. In the end, both of these depictions show that rather than keep his emotions bottled inside, Orpheus choose to share them with everyone around him through his music.

Works Cited

Milosz, Czeslaw. “Orpheus and Eurydice.” The New Yorker 17 May 2014: 82-83. Print.
Saxe, John Godfrey. “Orpheus and Eurydice.” Yale Book of American Verse. Ed. Thomas R. Lounsbury. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1912;, 1999. [3 Feb. 2014].