The Power of Unrequited Love in Apollo and Daphne and Pygmalion’s Descendants

Category: Apollo, Love
Last Updated: 30 Mar 2023
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In the story of Apollo and Daphne, Apollo mocks the god Cupid, underestimating love's power. Cupid's scorn is returned, and Apollo is shot with one of the love-god's arrows, finding himself completely obsessed with Daphne, who by Cupid's power then spurns all Of his advances. His unrequited love makes his desire for her that much stronger, to the point that he cannot stop pursuing her, and that pursuit only makes her further disgusted with him, pushing her to flee more strongly.

Even after Daphne father Penne's transforms her into a tree in an effort to preserve her chastity, Apollo "[loved] her still" (1082) and adorned himself with bits of her new body. Even without any trace of her once beautiful body left, his crazed desire did not end, and in her new body, he saw what he wanted to see: her agreement and acceptance of him, when she "shook her branches and seemed to nod her summit in assent" (1082). Several books later, Ovid presents the stories of the love of Pygmalion and his descendents.

Though Familial rejected love of women because of the "lives of sordid indecency' and "numerous defects of character' (1 1 04), he was unprepared for the necessity of love. Lacking this love, when he created his ivory statue, he "gazed in amazement, burning with love for what was in likeness a body' (1 104). After his statue was transformed by Venus into a woman, his family line continued, and his great granddaughter, Myrrh, would again demonstrate the irresistible nature of love.

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This time it would not be Cupid, but the Furies that would doom the characters, as Myrrh found herself tragically lusting after her father, Cinemas. Despite knowing that her culture condemned such a relationship, her struggle against this perversion was unsuccessful and she found herself so infatuated with her ether that she finally came to the point where "she had decided to die if she could not possess him," (1108) and attempts suicide.

Her nurse stops her from taking her own life, and after persuasion, aids in bringing Myrrh and Cinemas together while the father was in a drunken state. After her incest was discovered, she was forced to flee. Her desire was undeterred even then and in her sorrow and fear of retribution, she begged to be released from her struggle and like Daphne, was transformed into a tree. The tale of Venus and Adonis, however tragic, is perhaps the most beautiful f these three, as it explores the power of love to change even a goddess.

After being struck accidentally by Cupid's arrow, Venus falls completely in love with Myrrh's son, Adonis. Just as with a human, the goddess is so swept away by her emotions that everything other than him becomes completely meaningless. Even her old lifestyle changes completely for her lover, as she ignores "her former mode of unstressed self-indulgence... Now she goes roaming with him through woods and up mountains and over the scrubby rocks" (11 1 1). Even Venus, the goddess of love herself, is still subject to love's rower.

When Adonis ultimately dies, she transforms what remains of his blood into a simple flower -? so unlike his original, virile form: for eternity rebooking and perishing, that she may forever mourn him. Although the situations presented are fanciful, their fundamental truths remain. Love is necessary to survival and because it's so irresistible, it is incredibly powerful - powerful enough to drive gods to madness and mortals to suicide. Though we may underestimate it, all can be subject to love's power, and all life and death are driven by it.

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The Power of Unrequited Love in Apollo and Daphne and Pygmalion’s Descendants. (2018, Apr 08). Retrieved from

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