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Psyche and Eros a Mythological Tale of a Difficult Mother In-Law

Greek mythology is timeless and on point in many respects and in the case of Psyche and Eros, it could be analyzed forever and still have more to pull out. It seems though, that my modern eyes cannot help but think of it in a more contemporary context. So, prepare yourselves for the tale from the book, Metamorphoses to get bastardized. This is my fan retooling of why I think Psyche and Eros' love affair is one of causal dating turned rocky honeymoon and how we all know an "Aphrodite" from our own experience. Let's get started.

Psyche was amazingly beautiful, causing people to start to worship her over Aphrodite. Aphrodite, in turn, is so enraged about it that she sends her son Eros to humiliate Psyche by having her fall in love with something awful. Something that Eros could have caused by using his magical arrows. Eros instead scratches his arrow on himself and he falls in love with Psyche immediately. Long story short, Psyche and Eros begin a relationship, but without running it by the Gods first. When Psyche injures Eros accidentally, he abandons her to go heal at his mother's. Psyche's jealous sisters also try to meet Eros when it is revealed that he is a God but meet their death instead. Psyche tries to legitimize her union with Eros by doing good deeds for the other deities, who favor her in return. She eventually goes to Aphrodite to be a servant, but Aphrodite takes this as a chance to abuse Psyche. She beats Psyche and so did her handmaid's named Sadness and Worry. Aphrodite then forces Psyche to do tasks knowing they are impossible. Psyche makes friends and gets help along the way. Eventually, even Eros helps her complete her final task, resulting in Psyche being granted permission to become a Goddess and have a lovely wedding to Eros.

The story plays up Aphrodite initially as a scorned woman and later as a clingy mother. First, because Psyche is deemed more beautiful than Aphrodite by her former followers and then by her reaction to Psyche taking her son's attention away. Traditionally the story has Eros as love and Psyche as the soul, I agree but still see this as a tale of Eros moving out from under his mother's authority. Eros returns to his mother, Aphrodite when he is injured, but later he is said to escape her to go to Psyche's aid. He is also the one to broker a deal with Zeus to give Psyche immortality. He no longer needs Aphrodite's permission or does her dirty work. His story is that of becoming independent and including Psyche in his life as a partner rather than a conquest.

As for Psyche, her story is that of no longer relying on beauty alone to get through life, something that happens often to young adults. Psyche had to fight her way through all of the obstacles that she faced, not knowing the outcome. She met the great Goddess Aphrodite and although not sure if she could, she completed all of her challenges. Psyche's real power in this situation was her tenacity and her respectful nature, not her good looks. Those involved wanted Psyche to succeed, except for Aphrodite anyway. Despite the other Gods being unable to directly help Psyche, they did their best to skirt that.

Aphrodite played a part no one wants to play in their later years, that of a person who feels like they are being edited out of their own life. To Aphrodite, Psyche was instability. Psyche stepped in the way of Aphrodite's worshipers and of her family. Psyche could never understand why Aphrodite was so cruel to her and as undeservedly as it was, Aphrodite could not change the motion of events that Psyche brought forth. Aphrodite's only option was to accept Psyche. Had Aphrodite made Psyche's life any harder, Aphrodite would have become the villain even more so and drive away all that she was trying to maintain. Psyche was for Aphrodite, in reality, the representation of changing times. Aphrodite can live in a world with Psyche, but it would never be as it was before.

The tasks Psyche had been given by Aphrodite may be familiar to all married people, in that it is the reminder of the efforts they go to in order to impress their less than friendly in-law(s). For some winning their in-law's respect may have been easier than others. If the story of Psyche and Eros tells us anything, it is that a person has to eventually step in when the trials their parents are putting their partner through has become too sadistic. Psyche would still be asleep somewhere had Eros not found her. Yes, the story is an allegory of love awakening the soul. However, it should also serve as a reminder of two very important things; one that you shouldn't let a young upstart under your skin or risk giving into malicious attitudes, and two for people to stick up for their loved ones with their parents if they are giving them too hard a time, even if your mother is an all-powerful Goddess.

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