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Orpheus & Eurydice Myth: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:05 What Lessons Do We Learn?
  • 0:33 Who Are the Major Characters?
  • 1:10 What Happens in the Myth?
  • 2:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

The 'Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice' is a particularly sad story involving a god who learns a hard lesson. This myth was written as a way of trying to teach the people of Ancient Greece something important.

What Lessons Do We Learn?

The purpose of mythology is to clarify, give guidance, or provide a warning for a culture's people. Greek mythology does all those things, and, with the Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, there are important lessons woven in with the story line.

In this myth, there are two lessons the people of Ancient Greece learn:

  • Be true to your word.
  • The gods--although generous and caring sometimes--are to be respected and taken seriously.

Who Are the Major Characters?

You might have heard of Apollo, who is the son of Zeus--the king of the gods--and the twin brother of Artemis. Apollo, the messenger god, had a son with one of the muses, Calliope. This son, who is named Orpheus, developed a certain undeniable talent for playing music. Under the direction of his father, Apollo, Orpheus learns to play his instrument of choice--the lyre--beautifully.

The music Orpheus plays can be summed up with the most positive adjectives: beautiful, heavenly, and magical. It is even said that his music can calm the angriest of beasts and cast spells on unsuspecting Greeks.

What Happens in the Myth?

Orpheus falls in love with a beautiful woman named Eurydice. Because she is a human and not a god like Orpheus, she is mortal, which means that she could die. This troubles Orpheus tremendously, and on the day that Eurydice and he marry, she passes away. Orpheus is devastated and desperate to get her back.

Orpheus is so desperate to live out his days with his wife that he visits the underworld and its god, Hades. Hades is known to be ruthless and even though Hades is Orpheus' great-uncle, he will not automatically help him. But even Hades' heart is softened when he hears Orpheus play his music.

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