Study Guide

Orpheus and Eurydice Fleeting Nature of Happiness

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Fleeting Nature of Happiness

Twice in this myth, incredible happiness slips away from Orpheus and Eurydice. First, it disappears after Eurydice dies on their wedding night. Then, the joy that comes from Eurydice's release is destroyed when Orpheus looks back during their ascent to the upper world. Each time, the couple's extreme happiness is only temporary. In highlighting how quickly Orpheus and Eurydice lose their joy, the myth reminds us of the fleeting nature of happiness. Hey, we didn't say this would be uplifting.

Questions About Fleeting Nature of Happiness

  1. Some versions of the myth say that the gods were punishing Orpheus and Eurydice for being too happy. Do you think they were being punished, or do you think their tragedies were random and unplanned?
  2. Would you rather be mildly happy for a long time or very happy for a short time?
  3. If we didn't have sadness in our lives, do you think we would appreciate the happy times?
  4. After Eurydice's second death, should Orpheus have eventually moved on? What do you think of his choice to remain sad?

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