Narcissus and Echo By Katie Bledsoe

Narcissus was turned into "a flower" after his death (Chappell 12). The image above depicts what he would have looked like.

Narcissus is an extremely attractive 16-year-old boy who is not interested in any form of romance, but a wood elf named Echo falls horribly in love with him. Sadly, she was cursed so that she could only repeat what others said, so she had no way to tell him how she felt.

One day Echo follows Narcissus, while he is out hunting, with the hope that she might be able to tell him how she felt. Narcissus discovers that Echo is following him, and is disgusted with her interest in him. She is heartbroken that Narcissus does not feel the same towards her.

Not to long after, Narcissus sees his reflection in a pond for the first time. He is so entranced with his own beauty that he stares at his reflection for the rest of his life. He doesn't want to disrupt his reflection, so he dies from dehydration. After his death he is turned into a Narcissus (daffodil) flower.

The moral this story is not to be self-absorbed, because that can have very negative consequences.

Allusions in Modern Media

In Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling, one of the characters is named Narcissa Malfoy (Draco Malfoy's mother). She is very full of herself, and constantly self-absorbed. This gives a deeper meaning to the text, and alludes to her narcissistic personality. Dobby is forced to do whatever she says and is like the Echo of the book. He only desires to please his master and do what he is told.

Narcissus and Echo: by Fred Chappel

The tone of the poem Narcissus and Echo, by Fred Chappell, is longing and desirous. The diction in the poem proves this point by using words like: longing, ache, beauty, return, cannot, live apart, treasure, and heart. In lines 9 through 11 it says "I live apart from myself, yet cannot live apart" (Chappell). These words all have a feeling of deep longing or desire behind them. Another part of the poem that conveys this tone is the syntax. Each sentence is put into multiple lines giving it this sort of choppy rhythm and making it seem incomplete, and Narcissus feels incomplete without himself. The words my and I are repeated very often. This emphasizes how important he feels he is and how self-centered he is. He feels this overcoming desire to love himself and can do nothing about it.

Another part of the poem that creates a longing or desirous tone are the italicized words on the side. These words are an echo of what is being said making them Echo's words. She is struggling to convey her emotions to him and doesn't understand why he feels differently. She is very in love with him and desires him to feel the same. Her words are "Ember of airy longing, ache of unbeing. Is your heart not stone? Hour, light: fare well" (Chappell 1-5). She eventually gives up his affection but still feels the pain of being unwanted. She yearns for something she cannot have. All of these different literary devices give the poem a very desirous and longing tone.

Understanding the poems tone, the myth, and allusions to modern media help enhance the meaning of each work because they all connect.

Finding an example of a modern Narcissus gives me a better picture of the way Narcissus might have acted.

Then understanding the myth behind the poem gave the poem a whole new meaning. Deciphering the tone also helped to convey the meaning of the myth as a whole.

Each of the different texts all relate and helped create a better picture behind the myth and what the lesson learned from the Narcissus and Echo is.

Narcissus asks himself "Shall the water not remember my hands slow gesture, tracing above its mirror my half-imaginary portrait?" (Chappell 1-4) He hopes to somehow be able to touch himself and so his love can be real. Each of the allusions have this similar meaning behind them. Being self-absorbed doesn't help anyone, including yourself.

Overall I learned a lot through the story of Narcissus and Echo. Their story also helped me to understand Greek literature better as well.

Resources

http://myths.e2bn.org/mythsandlegends/userstory948-story-of-echo-and-narcissus.html

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/fred-chappell

http://rintala-allusions.weebly.com/narcissus.html

Credits:

Created with images by coniferconifer - "Narcissus" • chornamariya - "Forest" • lailajuliana - "piano rose red" • PixArc - "sad broken glass" • Flikkersteph -4,000,000 views ,thank you! - "Le petit étang en miroir" • Amanda M Hatfield - "Day 012/366 - January 12th" • Cea. - "Narcissus" • Unsplash - "chain link metal" • senjinpojskic - "connect jigsaw strategy" • Cea. - "[ B ] Richard Baxter - Narcissus and Echo (2000) - Detail" • ndrwfgg - "narcissus"

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