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The Artist Scientist: Orpheus And Daedalus. Compare And Contrast Two Greek Myths. Make Sure To Link To Joseph Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces.

1571 words - 6 pages

According to Joseph Campbell, the artist-scientist is "curiously disinterested, almost diabolic human phenomenon, beyond the normal bounds of social judgment, dedicated to the morals not of his time but of his art. He is the hero of the way of thought-singlehearted, courageous, and full of faith that the truth, as he finds it, shall make us free"(24). Orpheus is the artist and Dædalus is the scientist. These two heroes use their crafts as a means to aiding themselves and others.Orpheus' skill was his music. He was said to be the greatest musician who was not a god. Hamilton says, "Orpheus had no rival there [Thrace, where he grew up] or anywhere except the gods alone"(103). He had the ability to change the moods of men with his lyre and melody. With his music he had the ability to charm not only his fellow-mortals but "wild beasts were softened by his strains, and gathered around him laid by their fierceness, and stood entranced with his lay" (Bulfinch 173). His notes softened even trees and rocks. Orpheus had also saved his fellow Argonauts. When they were approaching the island of the Sirens' and were lured there by their voices, Orpheus began playing his lyre and singing to help steer the men away from the island, which would have brought on their deaths. However great his music, he is better known for his "ill-fated marriage"(Hamilton 103). The marriage was fated to fail even from the beginning, Hymen, the god of marriage, was asked to bless the marriage with his presence and although he was present, he brought bad omens with him. His torch smoked and brought tears into their eyes. After the marriage ceremony, Eurydice, Orpheus' bride, was fleeing from the advances of Aristæus, a shepherd. During which, she came upon a snake in the grass and was bitten and died. Orpheus was heart broken. He was set on bringing her back. He was confident that his talent would sway the Lord of the Dead. Like every hero, he had to take a journey into the unknown; in Orpheus' case it was the underworld.With his music, Orpheus charmed every creature of the underworld, they all stopped to listen to him. Bulfinch says that as Orpheus sang tender strains to those of the underworld, "for the first time it is said the cheeks of the Furies were wet with tears"(174). This caught the attention of Hades and his queen, Persephine. Orpheus put into song his grief and pain of losing Eurydice and asked Hades to return her to him. Hades could not refuse him because of the "spell of his voice"(Hamilton 105). However, there was a catch, Hades would return Eurydice to Orpheus, but he could not look back at her until they returned to the mortal world. As he was returning to the mortal world, he wanted very much to look back at her. When he returned to the sunlight he turned around to look at her, however, this was before she stepped out of the darkness. Eurydice disappeared. He was not permitted to return to the underworld a second time. There was nothing he could do to...

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