orpheusfinal - 1 Connor Dunlop Final Draft The Princess...

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Connor Dunlop Final Draft 10/16/07 The Princess, Love, Art, and Death Orpheus is a character from the Roman book The Metamorphoses of Ovid and the 1950’s movie Orpheus . Jean Cocteau directed the film, and changed the storyline drastically. Even though the stories take place thousands of years apart, Cocteau still maintained the same overall plot and themes as the original work. Both works tell the story of Orpheus going to the underworld to get his wife he loves so much, and while leaving the underworld he must not look at her. Nevertheless, Orpheus fails to do so, and looks at Eurydice, sending her back to the underworld permanently. Although the settings take place hundreds of years apart, Orpheus , and Metamorphoses both relate death, love, and art. Through the addition of a character Cocteau seems to relate all three in a more fascinating way through his use of symbolism, personification, and other techniques. Why does Cocteau add a second female character, The Princess (Death), in the movie Orpheus ? In Orpheus there is an additional main female character who is a personification of death, and is referred to as the Princess. Eurydice, Orpheus’s wife, appears in both works, but is the only main female character in Metamorphoses . Cocteau may have added The Princess to his story for a number of reasons. She represents a relationship between love and death for Orpheus, and the death of women. In both versions of the story Orpheus is in love with death in more ways than one. Eurydice is killed in the beginning of Ovid’s version, and Orpheus is deeply saddened by the loss 1
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of his lover. As Orpheus is unable to bear living without his wife he displays his love as he ventures to the underworld, and pleads with the gods to get Eurydice back. His affection is displayed as he plays his lyre to the gods to try to convince them to let Eurydice leave with him, “They even say that for the first time ever tears ran down the cheeks of the Furies, overcome by the song. Neither Pluto’s royal wife nor the king of the dead himself could bear to say no” (166). Orpheus’s love for his dead wife is so strong here that he is able to convince the gods to let Eurydice go. His love is so strong for her that he extracts her from death, until leaving the underworld Orpheus looks back at Eurydice, sending her back to the underworld. Orpheus has once again lost his lover, and is now in love with a dead woman. Orpheus is not in love with the
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orpheusfinal - 1 Connor Dunlop Final Draft The Princess...

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