The Orpheus Myth

1992 Words8 Pages
Scholars know Greek mythology as a collection of tales regarding gods and heroes alike, detailing specifically the interactions between human beings and gods and the interactions of the gods themselves. Supernatural phenomena at the hands of the gods became the human explanation for natural events, such as lightning, the changing of seasons, etc. While some critics and literary historians view the role of human beings in Greek mythology as that of simply pawns in the gods’ design, there are others still that argue on the side of humanity’s importance in the myths, giving them more dignity and their roles more purpose. Humans often were used as a control or contrast for the power and might of the gods. Those familiar with the myth of Orpheus, for example, may question whether he was simply a foil, simply a tool used by the gods, constructed simply to show the power of the gods and death, the foolishness of man, or if his paradigm was meant to glorify his kind. In order to come to a conclusion regarding this question, examination into Orpheus’ life, story, and role must be made. The tale of Orpheus has been retold throughout history, and the critical views and opinions of generations since have changed with the centuries a propos his presence as a figure in Greek mythology. Intellectuals name Orpheus as the son of the Muse Calliope, the patron of epic poetry and fluency (Lindemans 1997). His paternity oft disputed, usually his father is described as either Apollo, god of music and light (Leadbetter 1997), or Oeagrus, a king of Thrace (James 1997). Like some other humans in Greek mythology, Orpheus gods invested with supernatural powers. Lauded as the greatest musician in ancient Greece, Orpheus is said to have charmed the rocks an... ... middle of paper ... ...p://www.pantheon.org/articles/o/orpheus.html>. Leadbetter, Ron. "Apollo." Encyclopedia Mythica, 03 March 1997. Encyclopedia Mythica Online. Web. 09 April 2011. . Lindemans, Micha F. "Calliope." Encyclopedia Mythica, 03 March 1997. Encyclopedia Mythica Online.Web. 09 April 2011. . Ovid. Metamorphoses. 17. England: Penguin Books Ltd., 2004. 382-388. Print. Podd, Juliana. "Eurydice." Encyclopedia Mythica, 03 March 1997. Encyclopedia Mythica Online. Web. 10 April 2011. . Pozner, Walter. “Orpheus Descending: Love in Vertigo.” Literature Film Quarterly 17.1 (1989): 59-65. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 13 April 2011 Radice, B. Who’s Who in the Ancient World. England: Penguin Books Ltd., 1973. 179-180. Print.
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