Orpheus and Eurydice

Orpheus and Eurydice

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  • Orpheus was, as many believed, the greatest mortal musician to live in Greece, rivalled only by Apollo. When he played on his lyre and sang, even the most vicious and cruel wild animals would stop and listen. Though many probably had fallen for him, his only love was for the nymph, Eurydice, and the forest rejoiced on the news of their engagement.
  • On the day of the wedding, Eurydice was collecting flowers by the river for a garland and, no matter what anyone had done, died from a snake bite in the foot. All day, she was mourned by the whole forest, but Orpheus more that anyone else. His grief, however, made his music all the more beautiful.
  • When the sun found its grave in the hills, Orpheus travelled to the underworld, singing of his woe all the way. When he arrived at Hades' throne, he was sitting next to his unhappy wife, Persephone, with tears in his eyes. Hades granted Orpheus permission to retrieve Eurydice, but bid him haste. The only condition was that Orpheus could not look back until he had reached the overworld once more. Orpheus agreed, and started the journey back to the surface.
  • As he was crossing the river Styx, Orpheus realised something. Hades could be tricking him! Orpheus' worries only grew as he continued the journey, as he could not hear anyone following him.
  • Finally, he could take it no more. When Orpheus reached the end of the path, so that he could see the light on the other side,  he turned and was relieved to see Eurydice, even if she was a ghost. Crying out her name, Orpheus went forward to wrap his arms around her, but was met with air. Eurydice faded away, leaving Orpheus to despair alone.
  • Orpheus stayed by the riverbank where Eurydice had died for many years, until he died, alone and miserable. When he died, he found his love at last, and could finally be with her for eternity.
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