Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice By Baily Ashby

My Poem:

Summary of Myth/Origin:

The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is very tragic and sad. Orpheus was part God on his mothers side, and when he was born his mother gave him the gift of music and he was very talented and no one could resist him. Orpheus fell in love with a woman named Eurydice. To woo her he played for her and immediately she fell in love with him and got married. Directly after the wedding Eurydice went into a field and got bitten by a viper and died. Orpheus was very depressed and wasn't able to live without her. He made a plan to go down to the underworld to bring her back. When he went to the under world he played for the Gods to motivate them, the Gods agreed that he could take her back to the world above but with a price, the price was that if he turned his head to see if she was still following him she would not be able to return. Throughout the journey away from the underworld he was eager to turn and check but did not. As soon as he reached the opening back to earth he turned but it was to early. Orpheus saw her in the dim light but then slipped away back into the underworld. He tried to follow her but the Gods would not him return a second time to the underworld, and Eurydice was left there. Through the rest of his life he would play to himself with the rocks, trees, and river as company, when his life ended when a band of women slew him and pulled off his limbs and buried them in a tomb at the Mount Olympus.

Lessons and Values of this myth:

In this myth Orpheus had to trust Eurydice that she would follow him and also the Gods that they were not going to keep her instead of giving him back to her. His choice of looking back at her before it was time ruined his whole life. One of the lessons from this myth was to be patient and trust others promises, when we are patient and obedient we receive better outcomes then what would happen if we weren't patient. Such as if someone was given the option of having a small amount of money now or having a bigger amount of money later. Everyone would want the bigger amount of money but some might not have the capability to be patient. If he was patient and trusted that she was behind him he would have been able to live with her the rest of his life and both of them would have been happy.

Tone Analysis

The tone of the poem Orpheus' Dream by Edwin Muir, is very light, melancholy and solemn. The poet uses words such as "perilous isles", "frontier", and "oblivion" to make it seem like a light and sad story passed on from generations. In stanza 1 the poet shows the melancholy feel "coasting the perilous isles of sleep, zones of oblivion and despair" (Muir, "Orpheus' Dream" 2-3). By reading this the reader can tell that the speaker is sad and something bad has happen to them by their Diction. The poet uses these words because of the feeling the reader gets by the sound and meaning of these words. At the end of the poem when the poet explains the return of Eurydice to the underworld it has a more solemn feel to it and the words used by the author tend to show the emotion of the main character/ speaker. In stanza 3 the poet writes "The poor ghost of Eurydice still sitting in her silver chair" (Muir, "Orpheus' Dream" 16-17). Along with Diction another literary device is the rhyme scheme the poet uses. The first and last line rhyme in all stanzas, the second and fifth, and the third and fourth lines. The pattern makes the poem flow and makes it light. When reading this poem one might think that it does not rhyme at all but looking closely can make someone realize the meaning of this pattern. Because of the particular scheme the rhyming is more spread out which causes the speaker to seem distracted by something to rhyme them that makes it seem more melancholy.

Allusion in Modern media

A modern allusion for this myth would be that in the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. In the movie when Harry is trying to get past the giant and the 3 headed dog he had to use music to lull him to sleep just as Orpheus did to persuade them to let Eurydice to go from the underworld. Another Allusion is from the Disney film Hercules, Hercules goes down into the underworld to get his true love Meg, as does Orpheus when he goes down to the underworld to get Eurydice. In the myth both of these examples play a big role in the myth and the poem. The 3 headed dog and the Giant that Harry Potter puts to sleep are symbols of the Gods in the underworld that are persuaded to let his love go Eurydice. The part where Hercules goes to the underworld to get Meg is an example of Orpheus being courageous and going to the underworld to get Eurydice. Without both of these things happening in the myth it would have had not made sense and the whole entire myth would have turned out different. The director of both these movies possibly put both of these in this because the must have seen some importance in the myth and the role that it played in Orpheus and Eurydice

Connection Between All Three Text/synthesis

While analyzing this poem I realized that the myth has a part in the poem. In the myth It talks about how if Orpheus looked back at Eurydice she would be sent back to the underworld. In the poem on stanza 3 it says "At last to turn our heads and see the poor ghost of Eurydice" (Muir, Orpheus' Dream 16-17). In this quote the reader if they have read the myth they understand that the poet understands the background from this myth/God. Because these two texts link together the reader understands the poem better. The Allusions that I gave examples make this myth seem more important because other movies and books uses this myth. Because of the lessons that someone can learn from this myth can be taught through other lessons that use this poem/movies. The lessons that can still be used is that patience is a virtue. In Harry Potter we can take a lesson from when he lulls the 3 headed dog to sleep, he needed patience and by using this myth as an allusion we can understand the myth more.


Created By
Baily Ashby


Created with images by Pexels - "music musical instrument violin" • Hans - "embers glow wood" • pipe6868 - "harry potter castle osaka"

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