The Myth of Eros and Psyche

October 30, 2019
The myth of Eros and Psyche is a love story. It tells us how this feeling arises from chance and feeds on what it inspires, beyond physical appearance. Also, that trust is love's foundation and perhaps the best reason to forgive one another.

The myth of Eros and Psyche is about one of the three daughters of a king. According to the story, she wasn’t only the fairest woman in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), but also the most beautiful one in the world. In the story, everyone fell for her after seeing how beautiful she was. It was for this reason that Venus, the goddess of love, began to feel jealous. She couldn’t handle the fact that a mere mortal could be more beautiful than her.

This is because the men contemplated Psyche’s beauty instead of worshipping Venus at her temple. Thus, the goddess could no longer endure and ordered Eros, her son, to find her and shoot her with one of his arrows, all so she would fall in love with the most horrible being there was.

Eros, who was quite obedient, did just what his mother ordered. However, he accidentally poked himself with the arrow he was to use on Psyche and fell madly in love with her. Ironically, the god of love had no experience with love himself and didn’t know what to do with it. This is why he had no choice but to ask for the help of Apollo, the god of light and truth.

A strange destiny

A sculpture of Cupid.

The myth of Eros and Psyche tells us that the god Apollo didn’t know what to do either. In his opinion, it seemed that, at least in principle, it would be best to take all of Psyche’s suitors out of the equation. Thus, via his power, men began to admire Psyche but didn’t fall in love with her. Therefore, everyone flattered her beauty but nobody wanted to marry her.

For instance, Psyche’s two sisters were already married and she wasn’t. It was then when her father, afflicted by such bad luck, asked for the help of the gods. Apollo knew that Eros’ love must remain a secret because Venus would be angry otherwise. Thus, he advised the king to take her to a distant mountain and abandon her there.

Although her father was very sad, he obeyed Apollo’s instructions for he was a wise god and his daughter would surely be happy. The myth of Eros and Psyche says that the girl cried inconsolably upon reaching the hill and then fell asleep. When she woke up, she was in a beautiful garden, next to a beautiful castle. Then, a voice invited her to go in and put on the beautiful dresses and eat all the yummy food.

The myth of Eros and Psyche

The same voice that had guided her told her that her husband would visit her at night. But the encounters would happen in the dark and under no excuse could she see his face. If she did, the two would have to separate forever. Thus, she had to trust him because if there was no trust, there was no possibility of love.

The story says that the girl felt flattered by so much attention. Then, she began to fall in love with her husband more and more after spending every night with him. However, there was something that still pained her and it was that she hadn’t seen her sisters in a while and missed them terribly. Her husband tried to persuade her against inviting them over, but she was determined to do so. Finally, he agreed but warned her not to talk about him with them.

The sisters went to the palace and were quite envious of everything their sister had and for the love that brightened her eyes. Thus, they began intriguing to instill distrust into her heart. They suggested to her that her husband could be a horrible monster.

The price of love

A painting of Eros and Psyche.

The myth of Eros and Psyche tells us that the girl followed her sisters’ advice. Thus, when she turned on the light, she saw a beautiful Eros lying beside her. As she looked at him, he accidentally hurt himself with the oil lamp. Then, visibly hurt and upset, he turned away from her and went looking for his mother. He swore he would never return to Psyche.

Regretting her distrust, Psyche went looking for Venus and asked her to fix her marriage. Venus subjected her to all sorts of hard, inhuman tests. But, some ants, a rose bush, and an eagle helped her overcome them. Finally, Venus asked her to go to the underworld and bring her some of the beauty of Persephone, lady and master of that place.

Persephone, moved by the girl’s story, handed her part of her beauty in a chest. After many vicissitudes, Psyche managed to return. However, before arriving she made the decision to take a piece of that beauty for herself. Thus, she opened the chest and fell asleep with the narcotic vapor that quickly sprouted from it. When that happened, Eros had already forgiven her and was following her everywhere without her knowledge. Thus, he woke her up from the magical dream.

How the myth of Eros and Psyche ends

Then, Eros begged the gods to consent to his marriage with Psyche. They agreed and gave ambrosia to Psyche so that she would become immortal. In light of this new situation, Venus gave in and consented to the marriage. In the end, they lived happily ever after.

Asimov, I., & Gironella, F. (1974). Las palabras y los mitos (No. 19). Laia.