Metamorphoses

Giving Eurydice a Voice

In Book X of The Metamorphoses, Ovid recounts the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. It is the well-known story of a Thracian poet, Orpheus, who travels into the underworld seeking return of his new bride, Eurydice, who had been bitten by a serpent and died on their wedding day. Brought to tears by OrpheusÃÂÂ singing an emotional plea for her return, the king and queen of the underworld agree to release Eurydice. However, her reprieve depends upon the condition that Orpheus not look back at her until they are completely out of the underworld. Orpheus does not meet this condition, and upon his turning around, Eurydice sinks back ÃÂÂinto the same place from which she had come.ÃÂ?

In his version, Ovid does not offer much in the way of descriptions of EurydiceÃÂÂs character. She is merely that which Orpheus longs for; she is his unobtainable desire. In fact, her second chance at life is referred to as ÃÂÂthe gift that had been givenÃÂ? to Orpheus, not as a gift for herself. Ovid apparently expects the reader to disregard any possible wishes and desires that EurydiceÃÂÂs holds for herself and instead, focus on the how his loss of her affects Orpheus alone.

The reader of OvidÃÂÂs version is provided with a rare insight into Eurydice...

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