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Eurydice and Orpheus

Touch turns into
memory of touch.

Glance turns into
memory of glance.

Voice turns into
memory of voice.

The Asifoscope

File:Lower antelope 1 md.jpg

It is not true that Eurydice had to return because Orpheus looked back. It was the other way around…


I will remain here; I cannot come any further with you.


But I have not turned around nor looked back, as I was asked to. So just come with me.


Don’t you understand that I do not stay behind because you might have looked back? No, you did not understand the condition. You will turn around and look back because I don’t come with you. I am going to leave you here. I am tired.


So I have been betrayed.


Humans always betray themselves. Actually, we just walk together for some time, and then we part. Sing, Orpheus, sing, because the meadows and forests, the lakes and plains are there only in your song. That world is inside the human being…

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5 thoughts on “Eurydice and Orpheus

    • Hi Aquileana,

      You linked to this when you posted your own article about this myth. Let me add a few words of interpretation:

      The form of the dialogue is inspired by the book “Dialogues with Leuco” by the Italian writer Cesare Pavese (since you are interested in mythology, you should get a copy of that book). The book contains dialogues between mythological figures. Pavese puts a short introduction in front of each dialogue in which the myth is (re-)interpreted. A common theme of many of these dialogues is the “coldness” of the Olympians.

      In the original myth, Eurydice has to return to the hades when Orpheus turns around to look back In my adaption oft he Orpheus myth, I have change this point. The condition given: “when you turn around, Euridice will return” means, in my version, that Euridice is returning anyway. The dead don’t return. Only “through the song” we can let them come back temporarily, that is, through our culture. Orpheus is turning around to say farwell.

      The gods here represent the laws of nature, the world of physics. The laws of nature are perfect and complete, they are the invariants of nature, those properties of nature that always stay the same. But they are “blind and deaf”: it is not possible to derive meaning from them. The experienced world of the human being, in which meaning does exists, the world from which human culture emerges and that emerges from human culture (represented here by the song) only exists in the perspective of the human being. In this world, there are values and meaning. Outside of this world, on the level of the physical world, there is only the “narrow path between the rocks”.

      In the “objective” physical world, there is no upper world and no Hades (here, this represents an objectively existing metaphysical world, like that postulated by religions). The world of values and of human experience exists only for the human being, but for the human being it does exist. So by singing, Orpheus is staying in the “upper world” together with Eurydice already all of the time even if they are “only” on the steps of the rocky path. Nothing was in vain.

      The physical world on the other hand, represented here by the gods, is cold and without empathy. The gods dwell in Hades – here Hades, unlike above, represents the coldness and lifelessness, and in this sense. Mount Olympus is in Hades (which is obviously against the mythological “geography” of antiquity, but it is in accordance with the interpretation of the gods I am giving here (and the theme of the “cold” Olympians in Pavese’s book as well)). For the laws of nature, everything is the same all of the time. They don’t have a life and they don’t have a history.

      An experienced life, on the other hand, requires imperfectness and incompleteness. We have eyes and ears, the ability to perceive, because our knowledge is always incomplete. The ability to experience, to have any life at all, can only exist in imperfectness and finiteness. And the ability to create anything, to be creative, also requires finiteness, incompleteness and imperfectness. The “gods” cannot create anything because they are already complete and perfect. So they are infertile, deaf and blind. The immortals don’t have life and don’t have a history.

      Eurydice, coming from the world of the immortals, chooses the life of a mortal, i.e. an existence in which any life, meaning and values exist, but which is necessarily finite. There is a history, or an experienced biography in this life, but in the end, it turns into memory.

      I wrote this text when my mother was very ill two years ago (and we thought she might die). She did not, but on September 17th this year, her younger sister, my aunt, died from cancer. This was the reason I reblogged this text now. Life is tragic, but it is not possible another way.

      Related articles:,

      I have made two more adaptions of myths in the dialogue form inspired by Pavese so far (aboout Prometheus, representing human creativity in that adaption, and about Icarus, where the topic is that children should have the freedom to go their own way and parents should not impose their own dreams and visions on them). You will find those on my blog (and I think you have seen them already). I might do more in this style, this Leuco-form is fun.

      • I have read Pavese´s diary… it was a very though one indeed… I didn’t know about this mythological side of him, so as to speak. thanks so much for your thorough comments… I was very pleased to read your words and in depth explanations. All my best wishes, Aquileana 🎇☺
        PS… and of course I remembered that the dialogue was featured on my blog… such an honour it was…

        • As the “Ms. Mythology” of WordPress, you have to get a copy of that book. Since you are interested in mythology and in philosophy, I am sure you are going to enjoy it.
          It is also easy to read, compared with the diary, at least for somebody with your background. I think the diary was not meant to be published, and I find it not easy to read.

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