Study Guide

Echo and Narcissus

Why Should I Care?

The story of Echo and Narcissus is kind of like Romeo and Juliet on a triple shot of caffeine. Everyone falls in love, no one gets to be with the person they love, and everyone dies in the end. Oops. We probably should have warned you with a spoiler alert. Ahem. Spoiler alert: everyone dies in the end.

That said, the heartbreaking tragedy is only half of what makes this a must-read myth. You might also be interested to know that psychologists have named a mental disorder after the story's main character, Narcissus. Yes, we said a mental disorder: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, to be specific. You may not be interested in the lovey-dovey parts, but surely you want to know how this ancient guy made his way into modern psychology.

Humor aside, there's one more semi-serious thing sets the myth of Echo and Narcissus apart. This story is all about physical beauty and the power that it can have. When Echo falls for Narcissus, it's because she thinks he's hot. Inner beauty has nothing to do with it. The story screams: "JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER. Go ahead. Do it. See what happens." And well, what does happen? This attitude kills her. We're just sayin'.

Best of the Web

Echo and Narcissus Resources

Websites

Theoi thinks Narcissus is sexy, too.
Narkissos? Huh? Yeah, the Greeks spell things, um, differently.

Movies and TV

Hercules, Hercules!
Keep an eye out for a purple Narcissus in Disney's old-school flick.

Historical Documents

You found a what?
Here's some news coverage of the 2004 Oxford discovery of new version of the Echo and Narcissus story. It never gets old.

Audio

Bjorn Says "Love Thyself"
What do you think? Does the song scream Narcissus? That's what it's called, after all.

Sing It, Alanis
Alanis can get pretty feisty, and she's not psyched about the Narcissus-like guy in this song, either.

Tcherepnin. Say it three times fast. We dare you.
Here's some lovely music from Nikolai Tcherepnin's ballet, Narcisse et Echo. Be cultured, take a look.

Books

Narcissus gets Dirty
With vampires.