Study Guide

Cupid and Psyche Psyche as the Human Soul

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Psyche as the Human Soul

The whole tale of "Cupid and Psyche" can be seen as an allegory, or symbolic story, for the struggle of the human soul to reach eternal bliss. Hear us out – it's a pretty simple equation:

OK, so the word psyche literally means "soul" in Greek. When our heroine joins the gods of Mt. Olympus, Psyche becomes the goddess of the soul. (Hmm, pretty convenient that her mortal parents named her that, huh?) In any case, you can see how we might come to the conclusion that Psyche represents the human soul. That means we have the first part of the equation:

Psyche = The Human Soul

What Psyche wants more than anything is to be reunited with her husband, Cupid, the god of love and desire. In the end, she's rewarded with his love as well as eternal life. So, you could say:

Cupid = Eternal Love and Happiness

Of course, in order to gain this reward Psyche must go through lots of hardship. The tasks she must perform even take her all the way to the world of the dead. Because she stays dedicated to seeking her divine love, despite how hard it is, she eventually is rewarded. Ah, now we have the complete equation:

The Human Soul + Hardship = Eternal Love and Happiness

What the story may be trying to show is that all human souls long for eternal love and bliss, but it can only be achieved through struggle and hardship. Perhaps it is these very hardships that make us able to recognize bliss when it comes to us.

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