Cupid and Psyche

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Summary of Cupid and Psyche

By Shilo Previti

Psyche is more beautiful than Venus, the goddess of beauty, herself. Men would travel far to look at her, but no one wanted to marry her. Meanwhile, Venus was so upset that people were distracted from her by Psyche that she ordered Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with a monster. Cupid looked at the girl and fell in love with Psyche at first sight, while Psyche’s father asked an oracle why no men would marry his daughter. When the oracle prophesied Psyche’s marriage to a monster, her parents arranged for a funeral-marriage procession to go up the mountain to the cliff, where Psyche was left. Instead of dying, Psyche was carried kindly by the winds to a divine house, where invisible servants waited upon her and played sweet music. At night, her invisible husband visits her in bed, but she is warned by him to never try to look upon him. Her sisters come to visit her, and her husband warns her to be wary of them. Her sisters were so jealous of Psyche’s home and situation that they began to plot against her. They came again and instructed her to try to see her husband’s face. Curious of her husband and afraid of what sort of monster he might be, Psyche did what they told her- only to discover that her husband is Cupid himself. Cupid was hurt by an oil lamp in the event, and by her betrayal, and he left Psyche, who was now pregnant. She begs help from Venus, who sets her several near herculean tasks related to feminine concepts of home and beauty to complete. Psyche, with the aid of animals and other objects, manages to complete each task set before her by Venus in the set amount of time. The final task she sets for Psyche is to retrieve a box of beauty from the underworld. As she is doing this, she opens the box, meaning to take some beauty for herself, but the box is actually filled with sleep dust. Meanwhile, Cupid realizes he loves Psyche still and rescues her from her slumber, after which he asks Jupiter to marry them officially. Jupiter grants this and Cupid and Psyche, now also immortal, are married, and their child, Pleasure, is born.

Site Map for Cupid and Psyche and related content:

Character list for Cupid and Psyche

Comparing Psyche to Lucius

Cupid and Psyche: An artistic rendition:

1. Before Cupid & Psyche: Charite and the Hag
2. Psyche’s Adoration and Fate
3. Psyche’s Marriage Funeral Procession
4. Zephyr Carries Psyche to the Divine Valley
5. Spirits Attending to Psyche
6. Cupid Visits Psyche in Darkness
7. Psyche and Her Sisters
8. Psyche Uncovers Cupid
9. Cupid Leaves Psyche
10. Psyche is Distraught and Encounters Pan
11. Psyche at the Hands of Venus
12. Psyche in the Underworld
13. Persepone (Pandora)’s Box
14. Cupid Waking Psyche from Her Sleep
15. Psyche’s Ascension to Olympus and Divination
16. Marriage of Cupid and Psyche (conclusion)

Main Themes:

Magic in The Golden Ass
Love and Desire

Neoplatonic Philosophy

Teaching Beauty and the Beast
Teaching Till We Have Faces

The Golden Ass Site Map and Summary

Further Reading, Citations, and References

Information on the author