ORPHEUS' DREAM by Kaelyn Parish


TONE ANALYSIS: Despair and Hope

The tone of this poem is despair and hope at the same time. Orpheus’ dream is about what happened to his beloved wife and how he misses her. Hope is the desire for something to happen and the thought that it will happen. Orpheus was very hopeful traveling back to the live world with his wife. Thoughts of being happy again and being able to see Eurydice again lifted him up. He went to get her and in that moment of bringing her back home, there was a little hope and it seemed like everything was going to be alright. But then everything wasn’t. Orpheus looked back at her and because of that, she was stuck in “Hades’ empty hall” (Muir 18), forever. The tone is despairing because, Orpheus will never see his wife again, and he longs for her. Despair means to lose all hope and Orpheus really did lose all hope. He knew he would never see his wife again. The tone is kind of an oxymoron, despair and hope both mean opposite things. This poem really does have both despair and hope, it starts with a large amount of hope that starts to gradually dwindle to nothing when Orpheus realizes what he has done by looking one last glance at his now lost spouse.

DICTION: The words, perilous, oblivion, despair, and skiff, all are words that describe and help develop the tone very well. They all make it sound like Orpheus is struggling and is longing for his wife. It shows how dreary the underworld really is and it gives a feeling of what it feels like down there.

The words forgiveness, pure, whole, swept, love, show that moment of happiness and hope for a happy ending. It is that part in the poem that really shows that Orpheus is really in love with Eurydice, and is so happy for this second chance. But then it goes back to despair and loss of hope when Orpheus looks back at her and she is stuck in the underworld forever.

IMAGRY: The imagery in this poem is really good and really helps the audience to see what Orpheus is feeling. In the phrase “Coasting the perilous isles of sleep,/Zones of oblivion and despair, /Stopped, for Eurydice was there”(Muir 2-4), it shows that Orpheus is desperately looking for Eurydice in the underworld, searching through all of those souls asleep in agony. And when he finally finds her he stops because he does not want to lose her.

When Orpheus is bringing Eurydice back, there is really good imagry. When I was reading this part, I could see that Orpheus was so hopeful and happy that he could have his wife once more, and that he could be with her again, but then the sadness and regret of when he looked back at his wife and she was sitting in her chair, looking mournful and sad as well that she would never see him again.

“The moment gave us pure and whole| Each back to each , and swept us on / Past every choice to boundless good… Our love at one-till we could dare/ At last to turn our heads and see/ The poor ghost Of Eurydice/ Still sitting in her silver chair,/ Alone in Hades; empty hall” (Muir 10-18).

I could see in my mind Orpheus smiling with delight and happiness and then it suddenly being torn away from him because he looked back at his wife, making it so she could never come back. The sadness of Orpheus in the last few lines and of Eurydice makes the imagery even better. Showing that both of them love each other very much and are sad and disappointed that they will never see each other again.


Orpheus had a superpower of music, he would sing beautiful music it is said that rocks and trees even danced around him as he played and sang. He would go along on expeditions and protect the men from Sirens by singing his own stronger music putting the sirens in a trance. He married Eurydice who died from a snake bite. He was really sad about it and went to the land of the dead to get her back, he put the big dog that was protecting the entrance by singing or playing his beautiful and powerful music.

Hades took pity on him because he saw how desperate and sad he was and that he would do anything for his beloved Eurydice. He let Orpheus take her back to the world of life as long as they didn’t look back. Orpheus and Eurydice were almost there and then Orpheus looked back and his loved one disappeared back into the world of the dead and he never saw her again. He was later killed, and his body parts were buried on an island.

One lesson you can learn from this is that even if something you love dearly is not with you anymore they will still always be with you in your heart. Happy endings are not really real. Everyone continues to struggle until the end, whether it be getting over the death of someone that has died or just trials that you need to overcome. A value in this myth is love, Orpheus loved Eurydice so much and when he lost he, he went to get her back. He valued love so much that he didn’t want to lose it. Another lesson in this myth is to have faith no matter what or you might lose everything you have worked for. Orpheus worked so hard to get his wife back from the land of the dead. All he simply had to do was no look back and as soon as he was at the entrance or super close to it, he lost some faith that his wife’s spirit was still there and he looked back and he lost everything he had worked for.


The movie UP is a great allusion of the myth of Orpheus. Mr. Frederickson represents Orpheus and his wife represents Eurydice. His wife died and even though he technically didn’t go to get her back, he always remembered her and had a goal to go to their dream place.

He loved her so much that he physically moved his house and traveled through thick and thin to make his wife’s wish come true. Even though Mr. Frederickson didn’t have special musical powers he still showed the love story in a way between Orpheus and Eurydice. The overall effect of the myth in modern form is that love never ends even after death. It shows that as long as she is in your heart she will always be with you.


All three texts are analyzing this poem in a way. Writing about the tone is like annotating the poem and extracting hidden meanings and understanding the poem and the characters as well as the author. All three texts have the same lesson or moral in it because they are still all the same myth even if they are explained in different ways. The Allusion has the same meaning as the myth and the poem. The Allusion just explains and helps others to relate better the myth and the poem. The poem gives a little more incite on how the myth happened and the feelings like those that are in the allusion. The myth is the main work of art. The myth is the one thing that makes the poem and the allusion come to life. With out the myth, the poem would not have happens and peer would not be able to make the connection or deeper meaning of the allusion.


Created with images by Hans - "orpheus cave grotto orpheus" • monicore - "roses dry dead" • Giuliamar - "smile mouth teeth" • German Blanco Photography - "The Chair: Take 1" • TimOve - "Tears" • Melanie-m - "2 hearts"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.