Marriage and Death Myths
Marriage and Death Myths CLAS 160D2 - 002
Popular in Classical Mythology Lecture
Popular in Classical Mythology
This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Samantha Work on Tuesday February 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CLAS 160D2 - 002 at University of Arizona taught by Michael Teske in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 76 views. For similar materials see Classical Mythology Lecture in Classical Mythology at University of Arizona.
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Date Created: 02/16/16
CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY: MYTHS OF MARRIAGE AND DEATH: ‘TIL ETERNITY DO US PART February 10, 2016 @2pm ● Eros “love or Lust” and Thanatos “death” as Freudian concepts ○ primal aspects of human condition ● Divine paradigm of Hades marrying Persephone in the underworld ○ this myth is linked to cycles of regeneration and death ■ change of seasons ○ ○ ■ Persephone being guided back with Hermes (far back) to please her mother so that crops would grow again MARRIAGE AND DEATH INVOLVE: ● Key social and biological transitions ● recreation of oikos “household with new parameters MARRIAGE AND DEATH MYTHS: ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE ● Tragic death of bride Eurydice on wedding day and the master musician’s attempt to resurrect her from the underworld ● Theme of power of music and song to confer immortality ○ ■ Orpheus goes to the underworld and plays his lyre and is able to bring his wife back (to resurrect) and he may do so, as long as he doesn’t look back. ■ Orpheus looks back to see if his wife is still behind him and she gets pulled back into the underworld. ■ Orpheus is not allowed to enter again ■ In the picture are Orpheus and Eurydice leaving but the darker figures are Hades and Persephone. ● Violent death of Orpheus, his brief stint as a talking/singing oracular head on Lesbos and his ultimate reunification with his wife in the afterlife ● Orpheus’ head (still singing) and his lyre float down the River Hebrus and drift to Lesbos where the oracle of Orpheus is established ● Later his oracle is suppressed and Orpheus finally dies and is reunited with Eurydice in the afterlife ADMETUS AND ALCESTIS ● Admetus’ devout wife agrees to die in his place, so he can go on living ● Heracles’ boisterous revelry seems to violate the sacred host/guest bond, so he wrestles/defeats Thanatos and brings Alcestis back from the dead ○ ■ Alcestis on the death bed ■ Hercules fighting the dark figure (Thanatos or Death) ● comic aspects of Euripides’ play: ○ Apollo and Thanatos “Death” argue over Alcestis’ life ○ Alcestis’ tearful address to marriage bed ○ Admetus’ claim that he will take no woman to replace her but will put a statue in her likeness in their bed ■ a playful twist on the Pygmalion myth ● Final scene involves a veiled Alcestis who is presented as the guest’s (Heracles) gift to Admetus ○ unveiling of the bride (anakalypteria) as prelude to the gamos (physical consummation of the marriage) ● The mute bride will finally recover her speech after 3 days but for now she is a living statue ○ Pygmalion link once again HAEMON AND ANTIGONE ● Antigone is to be executed by the king of Thebes, her uncle Creon, because she buried her brother Polyneices against the wishes of the tyrant ○ ● Antigone backs the sacred unwritten laws of the gods regarding the proper burial of the dead and opposes the new arbitrary human decree of Creon ● Ironically, she is to be buried alive for having buried her brother ○ imprisoned in a cave with meager provisions ● As she makes her way to the cave, a figurative underworld, she sings her own epithalamium “wedding song” and imagines that she is to be married to Death ○ she becomes both a Persephone and Demeter figure ■ in a sense ● Antigone hangs herself rather than die by slow starvation yet she uses a sindon as a noose ○ a term which can refer to a “Marriage veil,” or “a funeral shroud” ■ this image represents the unveiling of the bride ● Soon after, Haemon finds her and cuts her down, then drives his sword into his side and embraces her ○ the gamos is suggested ● Antigone is finally reunited in the afterlife with her beloved family members ○ whom she had dressed for the grave ■ her father Oedipus ■ her mother Jocasta ■ her brother Polyneices ■ and now Haemon her husband ● not Hades after all PYRAMUS AND THISBE (PROTOTYPE FOR ROMEO AND JULIET) ● Ovid tells old babylonian myth of starcrossed lovers ● The pair decide to meet at a tomb outside the city ● Thisbe arrives first and is scared by a lioness fresh from a kill and runs to hide in a cave, but drops her veil and the lioness shreds and bloodies it ● Pyramus arrives, sees the veil and assumes Thisbe has been devoured; he slays himself with his sword ○ stains the white mulberries red ● Thisbe finds him as he takes his last breath, so she kills herself with the same sword ○ the gamos ● Pyramus stabbing himself and holding mulberries ● lioness (looks like a leopard) holding the bloody veil CUPID AND PSYCHE ● Apuleius’ allegorical story of Cupid and Psyche in his novel, the “Golden Ass” ○ After many trials and tribulations, Psyche “The Soul” will become immortal and be reunited with her beloved Cupid “Love” ● Clearly, for the Greeks (and Romans), death is only the beginning (for love) ○ “‘til eternity do us part” ● Sorry that is is so late, Teske didn’t upload the notes till the day before the test. I’ll keep my eyes out for last class notes and if I can upload next class notes also. Hope this helps loves! Sam
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