Beauty finds Love and Soul

January 21, 2010
By Callie SILVER, Houston, Texas
Callie SILVER, Houston, Texas
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Having a beauty that surpasses all others and portraying a transcendent hero/lover, Psyche faces difficult obstacles such as surpassing her fatal flaw and road of trials in Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. Throughout the story of Cupid and Psyche, the color archetype gives insight on Psyche, and we learn that love fails to live where there is no trust and beauty escapes us. In the mythology book, Psyche has surpassing beauty; however we know that in this story and in many other stories this beauty fades and fails us. Having immortality, the gods live forever, but beauty fleets and has no worth.

In the story of ‘Cupid and Psyche’, Psyche has surpassing beauty as well as a fatal flaw that endangers her of losing the life she has; her beauty causes many such as Venus to have jealousy and plot against her. Having her plan turn against her, Cupid himself falls for Psyche and soon he marries her without Psyche’s knowledge of whom she marries. Soon, Psyche’s sisters come along and her husband warns her not to see them; however, she begs him, and he gives in… “Do what you will, but you are seeking your own destruction.” At this point, Psyche has yet to see her husband’s face and although she acts as if she heeds his warning, she does not. Her husband has wisdom and although Psyche feels content and comfortable in her new home, she feels more concerned with seeing her sisters. Her jealous sisters convince her to look at her husband during the night; she discovers who he is but not without a price …”he fled from her. Love cannot live where there is no trust.” Psyche has a good thing going, yet her lack of trust ruins it. Psyche needed to have trust in her husband although she fails to see his face; her husband had only showed her kindness and hospitality. Psyche’s lack of trust causes her husband to flee away and Psyche loses what she values most.

Every hero in every story faces a road of trials that he or she fights to overcome. After Cupid leaves Psyche due to her lack of trust, Psyche tells herself…” I can spend the rest of my life searching for him. If he has no more love left for me, at least I can show him how much I love him.” Psyche feels terrible because this was the doing of her own foolishness and selfishness. Having faith in her husband and trusting him is something that Psyche lacks and promises herself to fix, even if it takes the rest of her life. As Psyche’s road of trials begins Venus gives Psyche many tasks she must accomplish …” Surely if she could keep the girl at hard labor and half starve her, too, that hateful beauty of hers would soon be lost.” Given impossible tasks, Psyche perseveres and feels grateful for the help she receives along the way. Psyche always has many things going against her, yet she gets by despite everything. Psyche’s complicated and long road of trials give Psyche much complication and difficulty, but ultimately it prepares her to overcome her fatal flaw, learning to trust.

The colors discussed in the mythology book symbolize and stand for a deeper meaning. When Psyche felt very down… “She heard a little voice from near her feet, and looking down she saw that it came from a green reed. She must not drown herself, it said. Thing were not as bad as that.” The color green represents hope and when Psyche most needs help and someone to save her; it is a green reed that stops her from killing herself. Green reveals hope and saves Psyche. Another color that has symbolism is black… “Do you see that black water which falls from the hills yonder? It is the source of the terrible river which is called hateful, the river Styx.” The darkness from the black water possibly means death for Psyche. Psyche promises herself earlier to prove her love to Cupid so that she risks her life to complete the tasks assigned to her. Proving that she has love and trust for Cupid ultimately leads to their happy ending.
Psyche overcomes her fatal flaw and road of trials filled with symbolic colors despite the many obstacles she faces. Psyche learns that to love her husband she needs to trust him and along her road of trials she continues to endure so that it prepares her to learn her lesson: without trust love has nothing; it has no point. Having beauty means nothing because it fleets and falls away. Beauty leaves you in the end but love will not.

The author's comments:
I was studying mythology in my literature class, and out of all the characters and stories we read, I greatly enjoyed the story of Cupid and Psyche. In this paper, I analyzed archetypes and motifs of the story, meanwhile vaguely summarizing the story for those who are not familiar with it.

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