Everyone loves a good tragedy. The ones that make you cry and give the person next to you a big hug. Jack and Rose in Titanic; ninety percent of the people I know cry every time they watch Titanic. Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, even Borat and Pamela Anderson in the movie Borat! But this paper isn’t about tragedies in recent times; it’s about love stories gone wrong…in Greek mythology. I have researched the stories I think were the saddest and most touching: Apollo and Hyacinthus: Apollo, the Greek god of knowledge and the arts had many affairs with both men and women, most of which didn’t end so well.
He had an affair with Hyacinthus who was a prince of Sparta. Hyacinthus admired and loved Apollo so much so that he followed him everywhere. One afternoon, the lovers decided to practice discus throwing. You’d think it was a harmless enough game for two people in love to play. Apollo threw the discus and in such excitement to get it, the discuss hit Hyacinthus square on the head instantly killing him. Apollo later learned that it was Zephyrus (god of the West wind) who was also deeply in love with him, that manipulated the winds resulting in the change in direction of the discuss and ultimately the killing of Hyacinthus.
It is said that the grieving Apollo turned his beloved Hyacinthus into the flower we all know as the Hyacinth. This is a good example of people who lose loved ones and keep mementos of them, keeping them in their memories. Apollo and Clytie: This is another story of Apollo’s many love affairs. I guess he just liked to ‘sow his seeds wildly’. Apollo and Clytie were hopelessly in love. Obliviously happy. Then Apollo did what he knew how to do best, he left Clytie for another woman: princess Leucothea. Feeling robbed, Clytie ousted Leucothea to her father who judged that his daughter be buried alive.
Clytie thought she would finally have her Apollo back but alas this made him turn away from her for good. Sad as she was, she sat on a rock for days without food, waiting for her beloved and staring at the sky. Clytie suffered and turned brown and yellow, eventually turning into a heliotrope flower (it always turns its head towards the sky). This is an example of going to extreme lengths for love and yes, it often does not end well. Eos and Tithonus: After being cursed by Aphrodite to be eternally in love, goddess of the sun, Eos, fell in love with a Trojan Tithonus.
Being so enchanted and taken with him, she kidnapped him and took him to Zeus to ask him for immortality for Tithonus. Zeus did give him the immortality that Eos asked for but in her haste she didn’t ask for eternal youth and health for Tithonus. So yes they were together forever but Tithonus grew older and older with each passing day. He eventually lost use of his body but he whimpered every so often. In need of preserving her love for him, she turned him into a cicada. To forever sing a mournful tone to her. Orpheus and Eurydice:
Orpheus, son of Muse Calliope was married to Eurydice. Once, he sailed with the Argonauts meanwhile, back at home, Aristaeus attempted to seduce Eurydice away from Orpheus. But faithful she was. She fled him and unfortunately, she trod on a serpent which bit her and killed her. When Orpheus returned and found his wife dead, he played a song so mournful and sad that the gods and nymphs told him to go to Hades and retrieve her. He went to Hades and asked for his Eurydice back. Hades agreed and told him that she would follow him back to earth on the one condition that he not look back.
As they approached the gates of the underworld, Orpheus couldn’t resist. ‘Is she really following me? ’ he thought ‘I can’t tell. ’ He couldn’t wait to see her face. He turned around and with that he watched her fade away, slip, away from him forever. This story is indicative of what love can do to people. It makes you break the rules because it hurts so bad to abide by those rules. Narcissus and Echo: The nymph, Echo, was cursed by Hera to be unable to start conversation and to repeat last words uttered by others.
She was hopelessly in love with Narcissus, son of a river god who was incredibly handsome as well as incredibly vain. One day Narcissus went hunting and Echo saw him and followed him. Narcissus thought he heard someone behind him and asked ‘Who’s there? ’ and poor Echo, unable to say anything apart from that, replied ‘Who’s there? ’ In a last ditch effort to get Narcissus’ attention, she showed herself to him but he turned her away and went on with his hunting. Heartbroken Echo went into a cave, sat and sadly faded away into nothingness…a voice.
Narcissus grew thirsty from his hunting and decided to take a drink in the river. He saw his reflection in the water and fell in love with it, never knowing that it was HIS reflection. For fear of destroying the reflection he didn’t drink the water and wasted away of thirst, turning into the narcissus flower. I think this is the worst story because they both died of unrequited love which to me seems like the worst kind of scenario. Echo never being loved by Narcissus and Narcissus never being loved by his reflection. They both died unsatisfied.
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