Study Guide

Cephalus and Procris Hunting

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Let's start by taking a look at all the places hunting pops up in the myth of Cephalus and Procris:

  • Cephalus is a hunter, and he's actually hunting when Eos kidnaps him. Kind of ironic, right? Though Cephalus is out on the prowl for some prey, he's the one that gets preyed upon. Oops.
  • After Cephalus flips out on Procris for failing his test of fidelity, she takes shelter with Artemis, the goddess of the hunt.
  • After a while, Procris returns to charm her husband with two awesome gifts. Guess what they have to do with? Yup. Hunting. Procris gives Cephalus a dog that always catches its prey and a javelin that never misses its mark.
  • The end of the story keeps the hunting motif going strong: Procris dies in a hunting accident. Suspecting that Cephalus is out prowling around for more than just wild game, Procris hides in a bush to spy on her husband. Unfortunately, Cephalus thinks the rustling he hears is a beast and he hurls his never-missing spear, skewering his wife.

So why does a tale about two lovers torn apart by suspicion involve so many images and incidents related to hunting? Could it be a metaphor for love? (The Bachelor doesn't have a monopoly on that.) Cephalus and Procris are deeply in love with each other, but their distrust forces them to always be on the offense, ready to attack whenever necessary.

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