The Tale of Psyche and Cupid

Following on from the article about Roman Mythology, today we’re looking at two interesting figures.

This tale is taken from the Latin author Apuleius, who was interested in writing myths in the form of entertaining tales rather than discussing statements of beliefs. Psyche, who is the protagonist of this tale, is the most beautiful of three princesses. Psyche was so beautiful that people started worshipping her rather than worshipping Venus (Aphrodite). When this happened, Venus was insulted and made a plan to take revenge by sending her son Eros to make Psyche fall in love with the most hideous creature that exists. However, the plan backfired when Cupid (Eros) himself fell in love with Psyche. Roman Mythology shows that although Psyche was loved and worshipped by everyone, she never fell in love. Both her sisters were married, but she was not.

Psyche’s father visited Apollo’s oracle in order to ask how Psyche could find a good man for herself, but Cupid had already discussed about his desperate love to Apollo. The king was told to leave Psyche at the hilltop where she would be married to a powerful winged serpent. Psyche went to the hill terrified, but the winds directed her to an opulent palace. That night while lying in bed, Psyche felt another presence. She was told that the presence is her husband, but she is forbidden to see him. As time passed, Psyche started to fall in love with her husband, still unseen.

One night, Psyche was warned by her husband that soon her sisters will be passing by. Psyche insisted on meeting them, but her husband warned her that this won’t turn out to be good. However, she was delighted to meet them and tell them the entire story. Her sisters became jealous and convinced her to see her husband in order to be sure that he’s not some kind of a beast. She was wracked with doubt now. She did this and found the beautiful Cupid to be her husband, however, Cupid found out and left.

Psyche was crushed with sadness and shame, and went to Venus. Venus found this as a great opportunity to torture Psyche and force her to go through some tasks if she wanted things to be right. Psyche became successful in fulfilling all the tasks and got her happy ending.

In this tale, the power of love depends upon trust and obedience. A mortal being loved and worshipped by everyone always faces jealousy and hate, which is shown in this tale. Furthermore, the oracle of Apollo has played a significant role in various myths, acting as a vehicle for inevitable and tragic faiths. Also, many Roman myths involve random orders from God to mortals, such as Cupid ordering Psyche not to see him.

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