Eros and Psyche

Eros, the alleged son of Aphrodite, is most commonly known for his Latin name: Cupid. He could stir desire into the hearts of anyone he pleased with a simple draw and release of his enchanted arrow. The story of Eros and Psyche is one of the most famed in its depiction of love and adventure.

There was a king, however where he ruled and what his name is unknown, but nevertheless he had a daughter named Psyche. Her beauty was famed everywhere, and men flocked to admire and pay homage to her. The jealousy of Aphrodite was subsequently induced, and she called for Eros to pierce Psyche with an arrow so that Psyche may fall in love with the vilest man on Earth. Eros was unable to follow through with Aphrodite’s command as he himself fell in love with Eros.

Despite being spared from Aphrodite’s wrath, Psyche still suffered, as no man was willing to marry her. Psyche’s father traveled to the Oracle at Delphi in desperation to ask why his daughter was seemingly unfit for marriage despite her great beauty. The words of the Oracle revealed that Psyche’s future husband was a fearful creature of sorts, and that Psyche must be left alone on a rocky hilltop. The father obliged to the instructions.

Alone on the hill, the wind Zephyr gently lifted Psyche and brought her to a meadow with a small estate that was waiting for Psyche to inhabit it. Psyche lived here with servants whom she could not see and only hear. She was informed that this arrangement was the work of her destined husband; like the servants, Psyche could hear and talk to him but was forbidden to look upon him. Human curiosity eventually got the better of Psyche, and when her sisters came to visit the estate one day, Psyche begged them for advice on how to sneak a look at her husband.

One night, Psyche (per instruction of her sisters) took an oil lamp and snuck into her husband’s chamber while he slept. Who she saw was not a monster as predicted by the Oracle, but Eros himself. As Psyche gazed at his handsome sleeping face, some hot wax fell from the lamp and onto Eros’ shoulder, waking him. In his fury at her faithlessness, Eros fled.

Psyche wandered endlessly in search of her husband, all the while trying to win the favor of the gods—particularly Aphrodite. Psyche offered herself to Aphrodite as a humble servant, and Aphrodite set about putting Psyche up to nearly impossible tasks. Meanwhile Aphrodite kept Eros locked in a chamber so that he would not go in search of Psyche. However, it is a difficult thing to keep a god in love incarcerated, and Eros found his way to Psyche.

To ensure that Aphrodite would not trouble the couple any longer, Eros inquired to Zeus himself for permission to formally marry Psyche. Zeus obliged. And this particular Greek myth ended joyously with Psyche and Eros living perpetually in the halls atop Mount Olympus; a unity that could not be broken.