Short summary - Myrrha - Vittorio Alfieri

Italy literature summaries - 2023

Short summary - Myrrha
Vittorio Alfieri

Eurycleia is convinced that Mirra does not love Perey: if Mirra liked someone, she would notice. In addition, there is no love without hope, while Mirra's grief is hopeless, and the girl longs for death. Eurycleia would like to die so as not to see the suffering of her beloved in her old age. Kenchreida has been trying for almost a year to understand the reason for her daughter's torment, but to no avail. Isn't it Venus, seeing a daring challenge in the insane maternal happiness of Kenchreida, hated Mirra for her beauty and decided to punish the queen by taking away her only daughter?

King Kiner, having interrogated Eurycleia, decides to cancel the wedding: “What do I need life, possessions, honor for, / When unconditionally happy / I don’t see my only daughter?” Kinir wants to become a friend of the king of Epirus, he likes Perey, but the most important thing for him is his daughter: “I was a father / Nature made me a king, it’s a chance”, the interests of the state for him are nothing compared to a single breath of Mirra. He can only be happy if she is happy. Kiner decides to talk to Perey. He tells the young man that he would be happy to call him son-in-law. If he chose a husband for his daughter, he would choose Perey, and when Mirra chose him, Perey became doubly dear to him. Kinnir believes that the main thing in Perea is his personal dignity, and not royal blood and not his father's possessions. Kinir cautiously asks Perey if his love for Mirra is mutual. The young man says that Mirra seems to be happy to answer his love, but something is stopping her. It seems strange to him that Mirra turns pale in his presence, does not raise her eyes to him, and speaks to him in a cold tone. She seems to be eager to get married, then she is afraid of the wedding, then she will appoint a wedding day, then she will postpone the wedding. Perey does not imagine life without Mirra, but wants to free her from her word, seeing how she suffers. Perey is ready to die if Mirra's happiness depends on it. Kiner sends for Mirra and leaves her with Perey. Perey looks at the bride's wedding dress, but the sadness in her eyes tells him that she is unhappy. He tells her that he is ready to free her from her word and leave. Mirra explains to him that sadness is innate and questions about its causes only exacerbate it. The girl is simply grieving about the upcoming separation from her parents. She swears that she wants to be Perey's wife and will no longer delay the wedding. Today they will be married, and tomorrow they will sail to Epirus. Perey does not understand anything: either she says that it is hard for her to part with her parents, or she rushes to leave. Mirra says she wants to leave her parents forever and die of grief.

Myrrha tells Eurycleia that she wants only death and deserves it only. Eurycleia is sure that only love can torment a young soul like that. She prayed to Venus at the altar, but the goddess looked at her menacingly, and Eurycleia left the temple, barely dragging her feet. Mirra says it's too late to ask the gods for her and asks Eurycleia to kill her. The girl knows that she will not get to Epirus alive anyway. Eurycleia wants to go to the king and queen and beg them to upset the wedding, but Mirra asks her not to say anything to her parents and not to attach importance to the words that accidentally escaped from her. She cried, poured out her soul, and now she is much easier.

Mirra goes to her mother and finds Kinir with her. Seeing that his presence confuses his daughter, the king hurries to reassure her: no one is forcing her to anything, she may or may not reveal the cause of her suffering. Knowing her disposition and nobility of feelings, her parents completely trust her. Mirra can do as she sees fit, they just want to know what she has decided. Mother and father agree to anything, just to see their daughter happy. Mirra says that she feels the proximity of death, this is her only medicine, but nature does not allow her to die. Mirra either pities herself or hates herself. It seemed to her that marriage with Perey would at least partly dispel her sadness, but the closer the wedding day was, the sadder she became, so she postponed the wedding three times. Parents persuade Mirra not to marry Perey, since he is not dear to her, but Mirra insists: even if she does not love the young man as much as he loves her, no one else will become her husband, or she will marry Perey, or die. Mirra promises to overcome her pain, talking with her parents gave her strength and determination. She hopes that new experiences will help her get rid of longing faster, and wants to leave her father's home immediately after the wedding. Mirra will come to Cyprus when Pereus becomes king of Epirus. She will leave one of her sons with her parents to be their support in old age. Mirra begs her parents to let her leave immediately after the wedding. Parents reluctantly let go of their daughter: it is easier for them not to see her than to see her so unhappy. Mirra retires to her place in order to prepare for the wedding and go out to the groom with a bright brow.

Kinir shares his suspicions with his wife: "Words, eyes and even sighs / Inspire fear in me that she / Inhuman is driven by power, / Unknown to us." Kenchreida thinks that Venus punished Mirra for maternal insolence: Kenchreida did not burn incense to Venus and, in a fit of maternal pride, dared to say that the divine beauty of Mirra in Greece and the East is now revered higher than Venus was honored in Cyprus from time immemorial. Seeing what was happening with Mirra, Kenchreida tried to appease the goddess, but neither prayers, nor incense, nor tears help. Kinyer hopes that the wrath of the goddess will not haunt Mirra when she leaves Cyprus. Perhaps, anticipating this, Mirra is in such a hurry to leave. Perey appears. He is afraid that, having become Mirra's husband, he will become her murderer. He regrets that he did not kill himself before he sailed to Cyprus, and is going to do it now. Kinyer and Kenchreida try to console him. They advise him not to remind Mirra of grief - then this grief will pass.

Preparing for the wedding, Mirra tells Eurycleia that the thought of leaving soon gives her peace and joy. Eurycleia asks Mirra to take her with her, but Mirra decided not to take anyone with her. Perey informs her that a ship will be waiting for them at dawn, ready to sail. Mirra replies: “Together with you / Hurry to stay and not see around / All that I saw / So long tears and, perhaps, were / The reason for them; sail on new seas, / Mooring to new kingdoms; air / Unknown to inhale, and day and night / Share with such a spouse ... ”Perey loves Mirra very much and is ready for anything: to be her husband, friend, brother, lover or slave. Mirra calls him the healer of her suffering and the savior. The wedding ceremony begins. The choir sings wedding songs. Mirra's face changes, she trembles and can hardly stand on her feet. Furies and Erinnias with poisonous scourges are crowded in her chest. Hearing such speeches, Perey is imbued with confidence that Mirra is disgusted with him. The wedding ceremony is interrupted. Perey leaves, promising that Mirra will never see him again. Kinnir ceases to feel sorry for his daughter: her unheard of trick hardened him. She herself insisted on the wedding, and then disgraced herself and her parents. Both he and Kenchreida were too soft, it's time to be strict. Mirra asks her father to kill her, otherwise she will commit suicide. Kiner is scared. Mirra faints. Cenchreida reproaches Kinyra with cruelty. Coming to her senses, Mirra asks Kenchreid to kill her. Kenchreida wants to hug her daughter, but she pushes her away, saying that her mother only aggravates her grief. Mirra again and again asks her mother to kill her.

Kinyer mourns Perey, who committed suicide. He imagines the grief of a father who lost his beloved son. But Kinyros is no happier than the king of Epirus. He sends for Mirra. Some monstrous secret lies in her actions, and he wants to know her. Mirra never saw her father angry. He decides not to show his love to her, but to try to wrest a confession from her with threats. Kiner tells his daughter about Perey's suicide. Kinir guesses that Mirra is tormented not by Furies, but by love, and no matter how much her daughter refuses, she insists on her own. He persuades Mirra to open up to him. He himself loved and will be able to understand her. Mirra admits that she is really in love, but does not want to name her beloved. Even the object of her love does not suspect her feelings, she hides them even from herself. Kinir reassures her daughter: “Understand, your love, your hand / And my throne will exalt anyone. / No matter how low a person stands, / He cannot be unworthy of you, / When he is after your heart. Kiner wants to hug Mirra, but she pushes him away. Mirra says that her passion is criminal, and calls the name of her beloved: Kinir. The father does not immediately understand her and thinks that she is laughing at him. Realizing that Mirra is not joking, Kinyr is horrified. Seeing her father's anger, Mirra rushes at his sword and plunges it into herself. She simultaneously takes revenge on Kinir for wresting a monstrous secret from her heart by force, and punishes herself for her criminal passion. Kiner cries, he sees in Mirra at once a wicked woman and a dying daughter. Mirra begs him never to tell of her love to Kenchreid. Hearing a loud cry, Kenchreid and Eurycleia come running. Kiner shields the dying Mirra from Kenchreida and asks his wife to leave. Kenchreida is confused: is Kiner really ready to leave her dying daughter? Kinyr reveals the secret of Mirra to Kenchreida. He takes his wife away by force: “It is not here for us from grief / And from shame to die. Let's go." Only Eurycleia remains next to Myrrha. Before her death, the girl reproaches her: "When ... / I ... asked for a sword ... you would, Eurycleia ... / Listen ... And I would die ... / Innocent ... than to die ... vicious ..."