Orpheus and Eurydice
The tomb of Eurydice. The singer Orpheus, surrounded by friends, mourns the death of his beloved wife, Eurydice. Later, wandering alone, he pours out his grief to the forests, streams, and stones, but nature is immovable. When Orpheus cries out that he will go to the Underworld to retrieve Eurydice, Amore appears to him. “You may descend to the Underworld,” says Amore, “for the gods are touched by your plight. If your music can move the tyrants of the Underworld, you may reclaim Eurydice. But if you look at her on the journey home, you will lose her forever.” Hope is reborn in Orpheus.
As he travels to the underworld, Orpheus is set upon by the Furies, but the sweet strains of his song eventually appease them. He moves on. In the Elysian Fields, the Blessed Spirits disport themselves and join Eurydice in celebrating the tranquility and happiness of the place. Upon arrival, Orpheus is struck by the beauty of the Elysian Fields, but even this calm cannot assuage his sadness. Moved by his song, the Blessed Spirits surrender Eurydice to Orpheus.
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On the journey back to earth, Eurydice begs Orpheus for a sign that he loves her still—just one look. He is so tortured by her impassioned pleas that he turns to her. She dies again and he is helpless to save her or restore her once again to life. But Amore reappears and recalls Eurydice from death. Orpheus and Eurydice finally enjoy a true reunion. Again in the bosom of their friends, the lovers salute love, “Whose chains are preferable even to liberty.”