Orpheus is one of those great Greek figures who stuck around long enough to get every single myth eventually attributed to him. He invented music, sort of, but he also become the figure of husbandly mourning after failing to rescue his wife Eurydice from the Underworld (on account of looking back at her before she was 100% rescued), but he’s also credited with introducing pederasty to Thrace (!!!) and was famously torn to shreds by crazed women for refusing to have heterosexual sex, also he invented Western vegetarianism and mystery rites? A rich tapestry, Orpheus’ life.
As you might imagine, paintings of Orpheus losing Eurydice back to Hades are a dime a dozen; throw a brick through any art gallery and you’re liable to hit one sooner or later. And yet! In most of them, Eurydice does not look super rescued. Let us enjoy the comical disparity between her facial expressions and the situation at hand:
i mean yeah i’m coming
babe we have five minutes to literally LEAVE HELL
i know, i just think i see someone
the degree to which Eurydice is struggling to resist her captor’s grasp is “ehhh”
but I just got h –
I SAID WE’RE LEAVING
all you have to do is step over this last rock and we’re home
babe we’ve made it so far already
we are SO CLOSE
Yeah, hey, Terry, I just – ugh, wait a second, my husband is trying to drag me somewhere, DO YOU MIND?
babe this would be so much faster if you just walked a LITTLE bit on your own
god I wish I could but
I’m VERY dead
even just for a minute would make a big difference
like I said
I wish I could
but as I said
I’m extremely dead
so you can either carry me back to the world of the living or I guess just let me stay here with all my FRIENDS
did you even ASK if I was ready to leave yet
oh well, we gave it our best, try to love again
This is…clearly Eurydice is eye-fucking Persephone. Yes? There is zero ambiguity here. “I’ll be back in five minutes, honestly I never even loved him, babe, I will be right back. He’s an idiot.”
Another super-lesbian one? I…there is really no alternate explanation! Check out that look Queen Persephone is shooting her; this marriage is O-V-E-R.
ORPHEUS: yeah look back at it
EURYDICE: that’s not what that means
you’re not – that’s not what that phrase means
ORPHEUS: then why is everybody looking back at it
EURYDICE: there is no way I can ever escape Hell
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.