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The Orpheus and Eurydice Story

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A Tragic Story of Love

Orpheus and Eurydice is one of the most beautiful and tragic stories in Greek mythology. In the story, Orpheus, world's greatest poet and singer, tries to rescue his late wife, Eurydice.


The tragic story of Orpheus' journey into the underworld to save his wife Eurydice is a tragic tale of love triumphing against all odds. Read ahead to know more.


The Greek Story of Orepheus and Eurydice

Once upon a time, in Greece, there lived a great musician named Orpheus. When he played his lyre, he could create some of the most beautiful music ever heard. Even the birds would come to his window to watch him play.


Orpheus lived at home with Eurydice, his beloved wife. Orpheus was fascinated with Eurydice too. They were truly meant to be together.


However, when picking flowers in the woods, Eurydice was bitten by a snake. She died on the spot. Orpheus' life was forever changed. He couldn't play the lyre anymore because he was so depressed.


He made the decision to react one day. He told his friends, "I'm going to Hades, the God of the Underworld, and I'm going to get Eurydice back." However, the underworld was filled with dangers, and no one had ever returned from it. Orpheus, on the other hand, had made up his mind and travelled to Hades with his lyre.


When he arrived at the River of Death, he requested the boatman to transport him to the other side. The captain of the boat refused. He told Orpheus, "Only the dead can pass." Orpheus, on the other hand, began to play his lyre. The boatman was so overwhelmed with emotion that he agreed to take Orpheus over the river.


Orpheus met a three-headed dog, the fierce Cerberus, as he approached Hades' gate. Orpheus quickly began playing his lyre, and Cerberus was magically charmed, allowing Orpheus to enter. Orpheus ran upon Hades and Persephone, the Underworld's King and Queen, who were surprised to see him. Hades asked, "What are you doing here, mortal?"


Orpheus informed Hades how much he loved Eurydice while playing his lyre. "You, Hades, had a loving relationship with your wife as well," Orpheus pointed out. "Since everybody dies," he said, "why not let Eurydice live for a few more years?" Orpheus' words and singing moved Hades and Persephone, and they agreed to set Eurydice free.


However, there was one condition. "As a sign of your belief in me," Hades continued, "Eurydice must walk behind you as you return to the upper world, and you must not look back at Eurydice until you have left the Underworld." Orpheus agreed.


The ascent of the couple began. Orpheus was concerned since he wasn't sure if he could trust Hades. He could see the exit in no time. Orpheus moved out of the cave and into the light, but just as he did, he turned around to make sure Eurydice was following him.


Orpheus and Eurydice returning to the upper world

Orpheus and Eurydice returning to the upper world


Orpheus had disobeyed Hades, and all Orpheus heard was a fading "I love you!" as Eurydice was dragged back to Hades' underworld. He spent the rest of his days playing the most beautiful music he'd ever heard among the birds and trees. Some think Orpheus' and Eurydice's spirits reunited after a long separation and are still together. 


Alternate Ending to the Story

In some alternate versions of the story, Orpheus succeeds in retrieving Eurydice, and the two live happily ever after. Yet, the tragic ending is found in the classic version of the story.


Conclusion

Orpheus was the son of Apollo who was the Greek god of music and poetry. Eurydice was a lovely young woman. Their tragic love story would tell us that losing someone you care about is really hard and we should care about them while they are alive.

Last updated date: 19th Sep 2023
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FAQs on The Orpheus and Eurydice Story

1. How did Eurydice's death affect Orpheus?

After Eurydice died, Orpheus was no longer the same person. He was no longer interested in playing the lyre, and he was no longer interested in living. Orpheus was desperate to rescue Eurydice.

2. How did Orpheus lose Eurydice while returning?

Orpheus was pleased that his plan had worked, and he immediately began leading Eurydice out of the underworld. Orpheus could hear the land of the living above him as they approached the upper realm, and he couldn't suppress his excitement.


Orpheus finally made it to the upper world's light and turned around to embrace his wife, but she had not yet ascended from the underworld. Orpheus turned around to hug her while she was still in the dark. So, Eurydice was taken back to the underworld forever.