Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Cupid and Paul McCartney on Word Wednesday
Sorry but no, this post is not about Paul McCartney's love life. In celebration of Valentine's Day Eve on this Word Wednesday, this post is about Cupid. We'll get to Paul McCartney in a bit, bear with me.
Everywhere we turn there are newspaper, internet and radio ads trying to entice us to spend money on flowers, cards, candy or jewelry for the one we love. One of the common symbols of love on this holiday is Cupid. Now we all know that if you are shot with one of Cupid’s arrows you fall in love with the next person you see but where did this idea originate? Who came up with the story about a small, chubby boy with wings shooting arrows at people to make them fall in love? It all began with classical mythology. Ready for this? It’s a real soap opera!
So legend has it that Cupid is the son of Venus and Mars. In the 2nd century Latin novel “The Golden Ass” (also known as “Metamorphoses”) by Apuleius, Venus becomes jealous of the beautiful Psyche because her beauty is luring worshipers away from Venus. Venus has a little sit down with her son Cupid and orders him to make Psyche fall in love with a monster. In the still of the night Cupid creeps into Psyche’s room to shoot her with the fateful arrow but alas, he cannot, as he has fallen in love with her beauty just like all her worshipers have done. Cupid defies his mother’s order by pricking himself, causing himself to fall in love with Psyche. (insert dramatic organ music here).
Meanwhile, downstairs at Psyche’s home her parents consult an oracle. Why, oh why, does no one want to marry their beautiful daughter? The oracle breaks the tragic news that their daughter is destined to marry a monster. (Gasp!) This cannot be! They order the west wind to carry her away to a faraway castle on top of a mountain in order to escape this unfathomable fate. Cupid cannot bear to be away from his beloved Psyche and goes to her every night – but warns her to never look at him. (Extreme close-up of Cupid with a very stern look on his face)
Psyche’s sisters come to visit her one day and are beside themselves with jealousy when they see the grand castle and the servants who wait on her hand and foot. They must put an end to this! They must hurt her! They believe that Cupid is the monster of which the oracle foretold. “We’ll get her!” they think to themselves. “We’ll get her to look at the monster she is with and she will be deeply hurt!” They convince her to creep in and look at him while he sleeps one night but, horror of horrors, he is not a monster! He is also beautiful and she falls in love with him! Cupid however, being a proud man, cannot stand that his love disobeyed his instruction to never look at him and storms off in anger.
Psyche’s heart breaks and she roams the world looking for her love. The conniving Venus, who is still jealous of Psyche launches a scheme to hurt the poor Psyche even more. (Hmm, wounded Psyche. I think I see another word history subject here). She tells Psyche that, of course, she would love to help her find her beloved, that she shares her pain. (Lying little b****). But first, she must complete a list of tasks that she has compiled. Each task gets more and more difficult and Venus does not expect that Psyche will be able to complete them. She believes that she will die trying.
Little does she know though that Cupid has heard of her diabolical plan. He can’t bear his beloved being hurt further and longs to be with her. He meets with Jupiter and convinces him to talk Venus out of this crazy plan of hers. Jupiter does so, Cupid and Psyche are reunited and they live happily ever after as immortals.
Dang! Those gods and goddesses are something else aren’t they?