Cupid and Psyche Analysis

Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Home city

Home city. Place where Psyche, the daughter of a Greek king, was born, possibly on the island of Crete. The city has many altars and temples dedicated to Venus that are neglected as the pilgrims from many countries who throng the streets throw flowers at Psyche’s feet. Outside the city is a cliff top which is reached by climbing a steep hill. It overlooks a deep valley. This arrangement is typical of many ancient Greek cities. Psyche’s bier was laid at the highest point.

Cupid’s mansion

Cupid’s mansion. Place where Psyche lives as Cupid’s wife. Situated in a valley carpeted with flowers and soft grass, it is surrounded by pleasant meadows, a grove of trees, and a clear-water spring. The mansion’s roof is made of costly woods supported by golden and ivory pillars. Inside, the splendid hall is paved with marble on which there are pictures made from small blocks of colored stones. Golden lamps hang from the roof and stand in niches all around it. Golden statues stand on pedestals, and many other precious things lie around. A bath of silver is provided for Psyche’s comfort. Food is served on a golden table. It is populated by invisible servants.

Temple of Ceres

Temple of Ceres. One of the places that Psyche visits in search of help to find Cupid, the temple is located on the hills above Crete’s plain of Cisamos. It resembles many Greek shrines, with pillars...

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(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Franz, Marie-Louise von. The Golden Ass of Apuleius. Boston: Shambhala, 1992. Psychological interpretation of the Cupid and Psyche myth. An excellent resource for the study and analysis of this myth.

Haight, Elizabeth Hazelton. Apuleius and His Influence. New York: Longmans, Green, 1927. Although much research has followed in subsequent years, this remains a significant source for comparative studies. Traces the tradition of Cupid and Psyche from classical to modern literature. Cites various interpretations of the myth in different historical periods.

Labouvie-Vief, Gisela. Psyche and Eros. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Illustrates theories of the mind and gender using this myth as foundation. Interprets myth as a psychological development to overcome dualistic thinking in terms of gender. Comprehensive examination of the psychological components of mythmaking.

Neumann, Erich. Amor and Psyche. New York: Harper & Row, 1962. Provides detailed commentary that includes classical sources, art illustrations, and occurrences in other literature. Argues that Psyche represents the development of the feminine psyche.

Schlam, Carl C. The Metamorphoses of Apuleius. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992. Detailed commentary on sources of the myth of Cupid and Psyche and an extensive bibliography. Includes theories of a number of other critics to explain the myth’s origin.

Tatum, James. Apuleius and “The Golden Ass.” Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1979. Identifies and compares a number of sources and interpretations of the Cupid and Psyche myth. Characterizes and analyzes individual parts of the story.