Study Guide

Orpheus and Eurydice The Power of Music

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The Power of Music

With Orpheus constantly strumming his lyre, this myth has more songs than an episode of Glee. He plays the blues when Eurydice dies (both times), and he uses music to charm the beasts and spirits of the Underworld. In fact, just by listening to his music, the Underworld creatures do all sorts of things that they've never done before: Cerberus the three-headed dog quits barking, Sisyphus stops rolling his rock, and the Furies weep for the first time in… well, ever. Orpheus's concert is so moving that he's able to enter the Underworld unscathed. That's some pretty powerful stuff, don't you think?

Ultimately, music serves two major functions in this myth. First, it allows Orpheus to express himself (and express himself he does!), and second, it alters people's moods, actions, and ideas. Who ever said that rock and roll couldn't change the world?

Questions About The Power of Music

  1. Has listening to music ever changed your views on life?
  2. Do you think it's fair that Orpheus gets special treatment because of his musical abilities?
  3. Why is music such a powerful art form? Is sad music more powerful than happy music?
  4. Lyre music was very popular with the Greeks. Can you think of any modern music that has been able to affect how large groups of people think and feel?

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