True Love

True Love

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True Love


Love is a continuing human obsession that is full of mystery and magic. Its power is legendary. The idea that there is such thing as love is neither recent nor culturally bound. For centuries there have been many stories, legends, and myths that illustrate its capabilities. "Love is so deeply ingrained within our culture that it passes without question. Its delights, pains and complexities are explored in novels, plays, and television soap operas, maundered over in pop songs, and celebrated in romantic fiction"(Tyse, 7). By examining the myth of Eros and Psyche we can see true love exemplified but does our concept of love compare to that of the myth?
Eros, the son of Aphrodite, is depicted as a young "winged" boy who is ready to shoot his bows and arrows at the heart of any mortal or god in order to rouse them to desire. He had two different types of arrows: leaden arrows with owl feathers that caused coldness or, golden ones with dove feathers that provoked love. He was always at his mothers' side assisting her with her godly affairs until the day he too fell in love. As the myth goes -- Aphrodite was very jealous of the beauty of a young mortal by the name of Psyche. In her fit of envy she instructed her son to shoot his arrow into the heart of Psyche causing her to fall in love with a hideous monster. Eros agreed to follow his mothers command but upon seeing the beautiful
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young woman, he found himself deeply in love. He would visit her every night in complete darkness due to the fact that he was a god and she a mortal. Psyche too fell madly in love with Eros even though she could not see him however; one night curiosity got the best of her. She obscured a lamp and while Eros slept she lit the lamp to reveal his true identity. In doing so she accidentally dropped a little hot oil on the sleeping god causing him to awaken. Her disobedience caused her to lose the "true" love in her life. In Psyche's search for Eros she undertakes a series of cruel and difficult tasks set by Aphrodite in hopes of winning him back. After many trials and tribulations Eros could no longer witness her suffering and he appealed their case to the gods.

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Zues took pity and reunited them, allowing Psyche to become an immortal, which in turn allowed them to marry. This myth of requited love has been incorporated into our society even to this day. Eros is what we know today as the Roman god, Cupid. Both Psyche and Eros still symbolize everlasting love -- and their images still appear on numerous Valentine's cards.
According to Moyers when we are in love -- as emphasized in some myths -- "we are in two worlds. We're in our own world and in the world that has been given to us outside, and the problem is to achieve a harmonious relationship between the two"(Moyers, 232). This is what I meant by love being a modern day myth. We create our own "world" -- that is seemingly perfect. This is done in order "to put our minds in touch with this experience of being alive"(Moyers). This also allows us "to recognize our "other" self"(Moyers).

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So what exactly does love mean? We are aware that we use the term in various ways. For example -- we love our parents, siblings, friends, and material goods - such as a favorite food. Love in each instance has a different meaning but how is it defined in reference to a partner? Many a times the definition sounds very much as though it could apply to other categories of whom we love -- family ect. The obvious ingredient that separates these differentiations of love is simply sexual attraction. So in comparing to Eros and Psyche it is evident that sexual desirability was a pertinent role in their relationship as it still is today.
The emphasis on love has greatly been weighed in our culture. It has promoted the belief that mutual love is all that is needed to maintain a long-term relationship. These uniting qualities of love are not to be completely relied upon. Evidently, love does exist but we need to work at maintaining the bond that brings two people together. It is not just a mythical heaven -- it is something that entails many contributing factors such as trust, intimacy, and communication. The belief that love "flashes" like lightening across a room and links two people together instantaneously -- is simply a figment of our imagination. This belief of love at first sight really only occurs in fictional stories and myths. Conclusively, I believe that we, as a society, have created love to be a modern day myth.




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