Cupid and Psyche
Cupid and Psyche (lat. Amor et Psyche) are the heroes of the short story-tale by L. Apuleius, which is part of his "Metamorphoses" (II century AD). The images of A. and P. represent a complex fusion of ancient ideas about ideal hero-lovers with philosophical concepts. A. - in Roman mythology, the deity of love, corresponding to the Greek Eros. He was depicted as a youth or a boy with golden wings, with a bow and arrows, a quiver and sometimes with a torch. P. - in Greek mythology most often personified the human soul, although sometimes it was identified with one or another living being, with individual functions of a living organism (breathing) or its parts (diaphragm - Homer). The Greek word "psyche" means "soul" or "butterfly", often P. was depicted flying or in the form of a bird. In philosophy, the concept of P. as a human consciousness, subject to world laws, introduced Heraclitus of Ephesus (540-480 BC). He owns the statement: "You will not find the limits of the soul, which way you do not go, so deep is its mind." The concept of P. as an immortal human essence was introduced by Pythagoras (584-500 BC). He also spoke about the "reincarnations" of P.
The plot of the short story about A. and P. is one of the most common in world folklore: it is found everywhere from Scandinavia to Indonesia, from Africa to Eastern Europe. For example, in Russian folklore, it is quite consistent with the story of the Frog Princess or Vasilisa the Wise. In European folklore, the plot about the Scarlet Flower is most often compared with him. The general scheme is as follows: someone who has a mysterious (more often terrible) appearance is wooing a girl, the condition for concluding marriage is a ban on looking, but the girl violates this condition, after which the betrothed disappears and she has to look for him, going through difficult and dangerous trials. In the tale of A. and P., egged on by her envious sisters, P. looks at A. at night and falls in love with him, but a drop of wax falls on A. from the candle, he wakes up and disappears. P. goes in search and ends up in the kingdom of mother A. the goddess Venus. She, who considers P. her rival, tries to destroy her and sets her impossible tasks: to disassemble the cereal grain by grain, bring the wool of golden-fleeced sheep, get water from the source guarded by dragons, and, finally, bring a jar with the beauty of Proserpina from Hades. P. nevertheless completes all the tasks and meets A again. In the end, Jupiter agrees to the marriage of A. and P. and, in order to equalize them, makes P. a goddess. From the marriage of A. and P., a daughter, Desire (Voluptas), was born. nevertheless, he completes all the tasks and meets A again. In the end, Jupiter agrees to the marriage of A. and P. and, in order to equalize them, makes P. a goddess. From the marriage of A. and P., a daughter, Desire (Voluptas), was born. nevertheless, he completes all the tasks and meets A again. In the end, Jupiter agrees to the marriage of A. and P. and, in order to equalize them, makes P. a goddess. From the marriage of A. and P., a daughter, Desire (Voluptas), was born.
Immediately after the appearance of Metamorphoses, attention was drawn to the symbolic parallel between the fate of the protagonist Lucius and P. She, like L., paid for her curiosity, had to go through difficult trials, and finally found her happiness. P. was even interpreted as an image of the soul of Lucius, who had gone from secret base passions to love, sanctified by the gods.
The tale of A. and P. received a new life in the Christian world after Fulge-cius gave it a symbolic interpretation in the Christian spirit: the love of the human soul for God (“The Tale of the Goddess Psyche and Cupid”, VI century). A similar allegorical interpretation is given to this tale by Boccaccio in his treatise On the Genealogies of Pagan Deities. The plot of A. and P. was used by many writers and poets: La Fontaine (the novel "The Love of Psyche and Cupid"), Wieland, Bogdanovich ("Darling"), Stendhal ("Parma Convent"), Pushkin ("The Young Lady Peasant Woman" ). M.Yu. Lermontov in the poem "Demon" "turns" this tale. Instead of A., who saves P., the Demon appears, trying to destroy the soul of Tamara. But the poem ends with words that could become an epilogue for an Apuleian tale: "... She suffered and loved // And paradise opened for love."
The images of A. and P. also inspired famous artists: Raphael (frescoes in the Villa Farnesina in Rome), Kakov, Thorvaldsen, and others.
The question of the sources of the tale remains open for Apuleius himself. I.M. Troisky sees its origins in the “pre-literary” period of Greek folklore, although the only similar plot of this period was the legend of Io, the beloved of Zeus. Other researchers (Feling) believe that the tale of A. and P. is entirely a figment of the imagination of Apuleius himself. Still others (Friedlander, Svan, Dermengem) suggest that Apuleius (a native of the Roman province in North Africa) processed the plot of the Kabyle tale "Son of Terieli" in the Greco-Roman style.
Be that as it may, but the images of A. and P. in the reader's mind became at the beginning of a long series of semi-legendary images of love couples: Daphnis and Chloe, Pyramus and Thisbe, Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Leila and Menjnun, Tahir and Zuhra, Ferkhad and Shirin. Apparently, it is precisely this short story by Apuleius that we owe the appearance of the great fairy tale literary formula: “In a certain state there lived a king and a queen. They had three daughters."