To begin, let us look at Orpheus, Eurydice - his bride - has died on their wedding day and he makes the choice to try and retrieve her from the Underworld. This can relate to a person’s education. Not that it is a dark task, but that it is one taken alone, a step into the unknown. The Underworld here stands in for the darkness of ignorance, according to Ovid, Orpheus travels” To Hades to make trial of the shades”. (X line 15) If dark is lack of knowledge than Orpheus’ “trial” could easily translate as his search for meaning. The “trial” coming in the form his triumphs over the obstacles that stand in the way of the lesson.
This darkness as lack of knowledge or ignorance is more transparent within the myth of Psyche and Cupid. America is not the first country to send its youth away from home to be educated. This parallel can be seen in Psyche. Apuleius states that “they made their way to the appointed rock set on a lofty mountain, and when they installed the girl on its peak the all...
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...ved herself to educated others is granted a place.
So we see, although their paths are very different, Orpheus and Psyche engage in much the same journey. From a simple comfortable life to a journey of knowledge that results in a new way and ability to look upon the world. They travel from the darkness of ignorance and into the light of knowing. Both have to sacrifice, Orpheus his Eurydice and Psyche her family. This looking under a new, fresh light represents enlightenment and knowledge which further banishes their old ways for new. Each reacts to this new life differently. Psyche seeks more of it, while Orpheus curses it. Orpheus eventually returns to the dark to live the life he wants, while Psyche ascends to the realm of the gods, a place brighter than the earth where many more things are illuminated. Not to mention the ability to “see” the world from Mt Olympus.
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