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Tales of love begin with the creation of humans, and continue to the graphic media driven "reality TV" shows that televise the private lives of the bachelor and bachelorette and all the people competing for their love. Love is a feeling everyone can relate to, but it is unlikely most people would claim to understand love. Within almost every literary genre there are myths about love that fuel ideals that are rarely if ever realized. There is no place where this is truer than in the stories of mythology.
The perpetual love myths that exist in classical mythology demonstrate ideals that are confronted even today by individuals searching for love today. The ideals of love that will be explored in this work are: love at first sight, the myth of one true love and the human phenomenon of over idealizing unobtainable love. The stories of classical mythology charter the lives of Cupid, Zeus and others who experienced the long lasting phenomenon of love. Their stories are still topical as the myth driven patterns of human loves are still repeated, today. According to Graeme Nichlolson, the "divinity of love and its kinship with myth...is able to offer true and adequate account of love" (Nicholson 108).
The profile of Cupid gives an illustration for the myth of love at fist sight.
The mythological deity Cupid, also known as Love or Eros is a great favorite of love poets and believers in ideals. Cupid is a "beautiful winged youth... against whose arrows there is no defense, neither heaven nor on the earth" (Hamilton 92).
Aphrodite was attended by Eros (Love). First conceived as a youth, then as a boy, finally as a baby, this Eros (Cupid) flew to execute the commissions of Aphrodite. In his hand he carried a lyre, standing for the music of love, or a bow and arrow to pierce the heart of his victim.
This powerful idol has the ability to deliver love to whomever he pleases through the strike of an arrow.
Of course, in today's secular world most rational people would discredit a flying boy and his arrows because it's just not possible, but they find other ways to believe in the existence of the power he was said to possess. Instead we choose to interpret Cupid's powers as acts of fate. Another description of love at first sight is "the blissful melting of souls that would somehow... make their existence meaningful" (White 45). The relationships that are results of the acts of fate that create the ideals of love at first sight follow that, the idea of a love connection, when its destined happens instantaneously.
There are countless modern examples of the perpetuation of the phenomena of love at first sight, movies, books even television programs that feed this idea. The myths of love at first sight often leave normal every day people with feelings of having been left behind or forgotten by fate, possibly feeling as if they don't deserve to have "That sort of love." Furthermore, considering Cupids' role in this love myth, to be literally struck by an arrow is painful, but being struck by Cupid's love arrow does not hurt, after all it is the legendary reason for love a first sight.
You might then wonder what happens when the love at first sight myth is not mutual? The result is unrequited love, which is the theme of "Alpheus and Arethusa." This tale is about the river god, Alpheus and his pursuit of a young huntress, Arethusa after she bathed in his waters. The huntress "wanted non-of him she had one thought, to escape... Arethusa called to her goddess, and not in vain. Artemis changed her into a spring of water" (Hamilton 116).
Whither dost thou hasten, Arethusa?' said Alpheus from his waves. 'Whither dost thou hasten?' again he said to me, in a hollow tone. Just as I was, I fled without my clothes; for the other side had my garments. So much the more swiftly did he pursue, and become inflamed; and, because I was naked, the more tempting to him did I appear. Thus was I running; thus unrelentingly was he pursuing me; as the doves are won't to fly from the hawk with trembling wings, and as the hawk is won't to pursue the trembling doves,
Ovid and Hollis 184)
Though Alpheus desire for Arethusa to reciprocate his emotion is normal.…[continue]
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