Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Psyche, daughter of a Greek king, is as beautiful as Venus and sought after by many princes. Her father, seeking to know what fate the gods might have in store for her, sends some of his men to Apollo’s oracle to learn the answer. To the king’s horror, the oracle replies that Psyche is to become the mate of a hideous monster, and the king is ordered to leave his daughter to her fate upon a mountaintop, to prevent the destruction of his people. Clad in bridal dress, Psyche is led to a rocky summit and left there alone. The sad and weary young woman soon falls into a swoon.
Venus, jealous of Psyche’s beauty, calls her son Cupid and orders him to use his arrows (whoever is struck with one of his arrows falls in love with whomever he or she is looking at) to turn Psyche’s heart toward a creature so hideous that mortals will be filled with loathing at the sight of Psyche’s mate. Preparing to shoot his arrow, Cupid, seeing his victim, is transfixed by her beauty. He drops his arrow and it strikes him in the leg. He falls in love with Psyche and decides that she should be his forever. While Psyche sleeps, Zephyrus comes at Cupid’s bidding and carries her to the valley in which Love’s house stands. There she awakens in a grove of trees in which stands a magnificent golden palace. She enters the building and wanders through the sumptuously furnished rooms.
At noon, Psyche finds a table lavishly spread. A voice invites her to eat, assures...
(The entire section is 1184 words.)
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