Comparing The Film Black Orpheus And The Original Greek Myth

1352 words - 5 pages

Comparing the Film Black Orpheus and the Original Greek Myth

The story of Orpheus and Eurydice is one that has been retold countless times over the years. It started as a Greek myth, later being made into a movie titled Black Orpheus. After reading the myth and watching the movie, it is easy to see that there are far more differences in the two works than similarities. These differences are not only in the way the story is told, but also in the organization of the events that take place and in the description of the characters. The main differences in these two versions of the myth are the role of the characters, the main plot scheme, and the journey into the underworld.
The characters in the movie, Black Orpheus, are significantly altered from the Greek myth. In the myth, Orpheus and Eurydice are together from the beginning and are completely in love. Everyone is happy for their love and the only thing that stands in their way is death. In the movie, however, this is notably changed. Orpheus begins as a streetcar conductor that was engaged to Mira, giving the idea that Orpheus was in love with another woman. We quickly see that this is not the case as Orpheus is always very curt and rude with his fiancée. They are slated to get married, but there is an eerie feeling in the air that something is about to go wrong.

The main difference with these characters is that in the movie, Orpheus cheats on his fiancée. We soon see that Eurydice is the wildcard when it comes to Orpheus. It does not matter whether or not he is with another woman, she will do what it takes to win Orpheus’s love. This is where one of the main differences occurs. Contrary to the myth, Orpheus cheats on his fiancée and gives his love and affection to Eurydice. The myth portrays Orpheus as a very kind, honest, loving guy. This image is shattered in the movie as he is very mean and stingy to his wife and creates the ultimate foul by cheating on her. Although Eurydice is not married, her situation is quite ironic. Throughout the movie, we see Eurydice wearing a white dress. This normally symbolizes purity and innocence. This purity is stained when she meets Orpheus and helps him cheat on his fiancée. The differences in the role of these characters are quite immense throughout the two versions of the story. The myth portrays Orpheus’s actions as heroic, but the movie depicts him as a very dishonest and bad lover who cannot be trusted.

After the characters are introduced, the plot has to be established. The differences in the two plots are as significant as the differences in the characters. The most obvious difference in the two editions of the story is Orpheus’s engagement. This, however, is just one of the many disparities between the two accounts of the myth. In the myth, Orpheus and Eurydice get married and are extremely happy. Eurydice takes a walk with her bridesmaids when she is bitten by a viper. She is immediately killed, causing Orpheus to go through an...

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