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By Frederick Greenhalgh Among the many Greek myths involving the underworld, there is one regarding the Thracian poet, Orpheus.
As in all mythology, there is a great deal of speculation behind the supposed meaning of the tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice.
There are hints to the death-rebirth fertility cycle, for example: Orpheus directly references the rape of Persephone by Hades in his plea for pity.
The viewer, as jarred by the strange environment as she is, journeys with her as she searches for her cousin, Serafina.
Eurydice bumps into Orpheus, a cheery, light-hearted trolley driver, who drives her to the outskirts of the city.
In his book Myth: Its Function & Meaning in Ancient & Other Culture, G. Kirk asserts that one of the functions of myth is to “reveal, in dramatic circumstances, the irreversible order of nature or decree of the gods; for it tends to substantiate the dogma by a practical demonstration of the impossibility of evading it” (Myth 259).
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Thus, “the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is another example ...that mortals cannot as a rule be retrieved from the dead ...in the end human frailty asserted itself, and frailty means death” (259).In an ironic turn of events, it is Orpheus who accidentally kills her as he rushes to the rescue, turning power to the rail-line that she is holding onto for safety.Here, indeed, frailty (or at least poor judgment) is the cause of death, even if death seemed inevitable.Orpheus himself is connected strongly to fertility, sex, and music, and he is said to be the only mortal initiated to both Apollo and Dionysus ( .For my purposes, however, I embraced a more literal interpretation of the myth.They first hurl stones and spears, which are so charmed by his singing that at first they refuse to strike him.The women, undaunted, begin to assault nearby birds, and then chase farmers out of their fields and take up the farm tools as weapons.Orpheus is brutally torn to shreds, and his head and lyre, still singing, land in the river Hebrus, and are carried to the island of Lesbos.For all the tragedy, Orpheus and Eurydice are at last reunited in the underworld (247).