The story of Psyche has captured the imaginations of audiences for centuries. It is a legend that closely resembles a traditional folk or fairy tale, but its origins are actually in Classical mythology. And indeed, our best ancient source for the tale of Psyche is the Metamorphoses of Apuleius. In this book, the author weaves a spell-binding story about Psyche and her love affair with Cupid (also known as Eros in Greek myth). So let us proceed to explore the relationship of this legendary mythical pair in more depth.
According to the story told in the Metamorphoses, Psyche was the youngest daughter of a king (incidentally, she had two older sisters). Psyche was so stunningly beautiful that her appearance rivaled that of a goddess. Indeed, the simple people of her county were so in awe of Psyche's grace and beauty that they stopped worshipping Aphrodite (the real goddess) and paid their honors instead to the daughter of a king. In her defense, it should be noted that Psyche was a modest girl, and she resisted this improper attention. However, the damage had been done - Aphrodite took notice of this insult of being overthrown in popularity by a mere mortal, so the goddess decided to punish her rival. And her punishment was swift and severe. Aphrodite commanded her son Eros to do her dirty work in this situation, and insisted that Eros use his powers as the god of desire to make Psyche fall in love with the most terrible and grotesque thing on earth.
As fate would have it, Eros fell victim to Psyche's beauty himself. He simply could not resist her charms. However, loving the mortal girl meant disobeying his powerful mother and making Aphrodite angry - and no one wants to anger a goddess. But Love will find a way...
Page 2 : Eros devises a clever scheme
Psyche in Art History
Gallery | For pictures and information about Psyche and Eros in art, visit the Mythography gallery!
Who's Who in Classical Mythology