30 Day Book Challenge: Day Fourteen

Book whose main character you want to marry: Psyche

What a retarded question.

It’s difficult for a heterosexual man to respond because so many protagonists are men. I’m sure someone will offer me tons of great examples of female protagonists, but then there’s the matter of deciding who you’d marry. blah, it’s a stupid theme just like the previous two. Which book is most like your life? Which character is most like you? That sounds like suggested discussion topics for your Oprah’s book club reading group.

Moving on.

The story of Psyche and Cupid is old as the hills, and doesn’t really belong to one novel per se – although, if you were to pick one, I’m pretty sure Apuleius’ The Golden Ass is the first in which it is recorded. It’s been adapted and retold many times. C.S. Lewis actually reinterpreted it in his novel Till We Have Faces, which I must confess I haven’t read and am dearly meaning to.

Psyche comes from the Greek word for spirit or animating force, and Cupid is originally Eros in Greek and is the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. It’s interesting that spirit and desire would be wed such as they are. Though I haven’t given it enough thought, I’m sure you could cash that out into all sorts of great ideas.

Their story begins with Psyche, the most desirable girl of her country, boasting her beauty is greater than even Aphrodite. Bad call. Aphrodite sends Cupid to shoot her with his bow so she may fall in love with a beast (the Ancient Greeks really dug inter-species erotica, especially as revenge…). However, Cupid falls in love and can’t go through with it and decides to marry her instead.

Aphrodite is pissed. The marriage is arranged such that Aphrodite is never allowed to see or know the identity of her husband, who comes at night and makes sweet love to her in the dark. One thing leads to another and Psyche eventually breaks the deal and sees Cupid in the flesh. Cupid is rotted and flies away. Psyche is distraught and pleads to Aphrodite to set things right.

(“ahhhh yeahhhh”: that’s how I interpret Cupid’s grin here)

Of course, Aphrodite being the worst mother in law in history orders Psyche to complete four impossible tasks. This the real meat of the myth, as Psyche enlists all kinds of supernatural aids to help her complete her tasks, which are all pretty cool.

Eventually, Cupid forgives Psyche of his own accord and begs Zeus to make her immortal. Zeus offers up a cool glass of ambrosia and everyone lives happily ever after.

Good times.

I chose Psyche because I guess she’s the archetypal wife? Can’t say for sure. I definitely admire her commitment and patience, which is probably want I’d need in a wife; someone who’d tolerate all the bullshit that I’d end up putting her trough. But don’t let that discourage you ladies…




~ by braddunne on July 13, 2011.

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