Orpheus used to spend much of his early years in the idyllic pursuits of music and poetry. His skill had far surpassed the fame and respect of his music. Humans and beasts alike would be enchanted by it and often even the most inanimate of objects would yearn to be near him. Well into his youth he had mastered the lyre and his melodious voice garnered him audiences from near and afar. It was at one such gathering of humans and beasts that his eyes fell on a wood nymph. The girl was called Eurydice, she was beautiful and shy. She had been drawn to Orpheus enamored by his voice and such was the spell of beauty in music and appearance that neither could cast their eyes off each other. Something inexplicable tugged the hearts of the two young people and soon they feltl dearly in love, unable to spend a single moment apart. After a while, they decided to get married.

Their wedding day dawned bright and clear. Hymenaios, the god of marriage, blessed their marriage and then a great feast followed. The surroundings were filled with laughter and gaiety. Soon the shadows grew large, signaling an end to the revelry that had lasted much of the day and the wedding guests all took leave of the newly-weds, who were still sitting hand-in-hand and starry eyed. They soon both realized that it was time they were on their way and departed for home.

However, things would soon change and grief would ensue happiness. There was one man who was despising Orpheus and desired Eurydice for his own. Aristaeus, a shepherd, had plotted a plan to conquer the beautiful nymph. And there he was, waiting in the bushes for the young couple to pass by. Seeing that the lovers were approaching, he intended to jump on them and kill Orpheus. As the shepherd made his move, Orpheus grabbed Eurydice by the hand and started running pell-mell through the forest.

The chase was long and Aristaeus showed no signs of giving up or slowing down. On and on they ran and suddenly, Orpheus felt Eurydice stumble and fall, her hand slipping from his grasp. Unable to comprehend what had just happened, he rushed to her side but stopped short in dismay, for his eyes perceived the deathly pallor that suffused her cheeks. Looking around, he saw no trace of the shepherd for Aristaeus had witnessed the event and had left. Few steps away, Eurydice had stepped on a nest of snakes and had been bitten by a deadly viper. Knowing that there was no chance of survival, Aristaeus had abandoned his try, cursing his luck and Orpheus.

After the death of his beloved wife, Orpheus was no more the same carefree person he used to be. His life without Eurydice seemed endless and could do nothing more than grief for her. This is when he had a great but yet crazy idea: he decided to go to Underworld and try to get his wife back. Apollo, his father, would talk to Hades, the god of the Underworld, to accept him and hear his plea.

Armed with his weapons, the lyre and voice, Orpheus approached Hades and demanded entry into the underworld. None challenged him. Standing in front of the rulers of the dead, Orpheus said why he was there, in a voice both mellifluous and disquieting. He played his lyre and sang out to King Hades and Queen Persephone that Eurydice was returned to him. Not even the most stone-hearted of people or Gods could have neglected the hurt in his voice.

Hades openly wept, Persephone's heart melted and even Cerberus, the gigantic three-headed hound guarding the entry to the underworld, covered his many ears with his paws and howled in despair. The voice of Orpheus was so moving that Hades promised to this desperate man that Eurydice would follow him to the Upper World, the world of the living. However, he warned Orpheus that for no reason must he look back while his wife was still in the dark, for that would undo everything he hoped for. He should wait for Eurydice to get into the light before he looked at her.

With great faith in his heart and joy in his song, Orpheus began his journey out of the underworld, joyful that he would once again be reunited with his love. As Orpheus was reaching the exit of the Underworld, he could hear the footfalls of his wife approaching him. He wanted to turn around and hug her immediately but managed to control his feelings. As his was approaching the exit, his heart was beating faster and faster. The moment he stepped on the world of the living, he turned his head to hug his wife. Unfortunately, he got only a glimpse of Eurydice before she was once again drawn back into the underworld.

When Orpheus turned his head, Eurydice was still in the dark, she hadn't seen the sun and, as Hades had warned Orpheus, his sweet wife was drowned back to the dark world of the dead. Waves of anguish and despair swept over him and shuddering with grief he approached the Underworld again but this time, he was denied entry, the gates were standing shut and god Hermes, sent by Zeus, wouldn't let him in.

From then on, the heart-broken musician was wandering disoriented, day after day, night after night, in total despair. He could find no consolation in anything. His misfortune tormented him, forcing him to abstain from contact with any other woman and slowly but surely he found himself shunning their company completely. His songs were no more joyful but extremely sad. His only comfort was to lay on a huge rock and feel the caress of the breeze, his only vision were the open skies.

And so it was that a group of irate women, furious for his scorn towards them, chanced upon him. Orpheus was so desperate that he did not even try to repulse their advances. The women killed him, cut his body into pieces and threw them and his lyre into a river. It is said that his head and his lyre floated downriver to the island of Lesvos. There the Muses found them and gave Orpheus a proper burial ceremony. People believed that his grave emanated music, plaintive yet beautiful. His soul descended down to Hades where he was finally reunited with his beloved Eurydice.

may 3 2017 ∞
may 3 2017 +