Orpheus was the son of Apollo, the Greek god of music and poetry. Eurydice was a beautiful nymph. Their tragic love story is about losing someone you love and having the opportunity to get them back if you can follow one simple rule.
Apollo is the Greek god of music and poetry and is most famous for playing the lyre – a musical instrument made of strings and a tortoise shell. Apollo gave his son Orpheus a lyre and taught him how to play.
Orpheus quickly learned how to play and soon could play more beautifully than his father. Wherever Orpheus played his lyre objects would come to life, and beings became entranced by the music. Orpheus had a true talent for music.
Orpheus was in the woods playing the lyre when he noticed a beautiful wood nymph Eurydice who had heard Orpheus playing and was drawn to his music. Likewise, Orpheus was drawn to the Eurydice’s beauty.
They had a beautiful ceremony with a festive celebration afterward.
Orpheus and Eurydice were overwhelmed by their love for each other and spent all their time together. They decided to get married and Hymenaios, the god of marriage blessed their matrimony but warned Orpheus and Eurydice that the harmony of their marriage would not last.
Eurydice was a beautiful and her beauty was obvious to more than just Orpheus. A shepherd named Aristaeus had noticed Eurydice and wanted her for himself. He hid in the bushes and waited for her, planning to kill Orpheus and take Eurydice as his own.
When Eurydice and Orpheus neared, Aristaeus’s hiding place, he jumped out and tackled Orpheus but was unable to kill him. Instead, Orpheus grabbed Eurydice and they ran through the woods away from Aristaeus. As they ran, Aristaeus chased them. Orpheus held Eurydice’s hand tight while they fled through the woods until he felt her fall and slip her hand let go of his.
When he turned around, Orpheus saw Eurydice had stepped on a venomous snake which had bitten her. As she was dying, Orpheus was unable to save her. Eurydice died from the venomous snakebite and descended to the underworld.
After Eurydice died, Orpheus was not the same anymore. He no longer enjoyed playing the lyre and he no longer enjoyed life. Orpheus wanted Eurydice back, and so he did the only thing he knew. He asked his father Apollo for help.
Orpheus asked Apollo to help him go into the underworld and retrieve his Eurydice. Apollo went to Hades, the god of the underworld, and told him that Orpheus wished to visit and requested the return of his wife, Eurydice.
Lyre in hand, Orpheus went into the underworld and found Hades. Orpheus played and sang for Hades and so all those in the underworld could hear. Everyone was so had moved by the beautiful song that Orpheus played especially for his Eurydice.
Hades agreed to let Orpheus take his Eurydice to the upper world under one condition: Orpheus had to lead Eurydice out of the underworld himself and could not look back at her for any reason.
Hades told Orpheus when Eurydice finally entered the light of the upper world, he could look at her but not while she was in the dark of the underworld. Hades warned that if Orpheus broke his request, Eurydice would be condemned to the underworld forever.
Orpheus was overjoyed that he could regain Eurydice and began leading her out of the underworld. As they neared the upper world, Orpheus could hear the land of the living above him and couldn’t contain his excitement. As he finally entered the light, he turned around to embrace his Eurydice, but she hadn’t yet emerged from the underworld. Eurydice was still in the dark when Orpheus turned around to her. At that moment, she was condemned to the underworld forever.