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Comparing the Film Black Orpheus and the Original Greek Myth

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Comparing the Film Black Orpheus and the Original Greek Myth

The story of Orpheus and Eurydice is one that has been retold countless times over the years. It started as a Greek myth, later being made into a movie titled Black Orpheus. After reading the myth and watching the movie, it is easy to see that there are far more differences in the two works than similarities. These differences are not only in the way the story is told, but also in the organization of the events that take place and in the description of the characters. The main differences in these two versions include role of the characters, the main plot scheme, and the journey into the underworld.

The characters in the movie, Black Orpheus, are significantly altered from the Greek myth. In the myth, Orpheus and Eurydice are together from the beginning and are completely in love. Everyone is happy for their love and the only thing that stands in their way of love is death. In the movie, however, this is notably changed. Orpheus begins as a streetcar conductor that was engaged to Mira, giving the idea that Orpheus was in love with another woman. We quickly see that this is not the case as Orpheus is always very curt and rude with his fiancйe. They are slated to get married, but there is an eerie feeling in the air that something is about to go wrong.

The main difference with these characters is that in the movie, Orpheus cheats on his fiancйe. We soon see that Eurydice is the wildcard when it comes to Orpheus. It does not matter whether or not he is with another woman, she will do what it takes to win Orpheus's love. This is where one of the main differences occurs. Contrary to the myth, Orpheus cheats on his fiancйe and gives his love and affection to Eurydice. The myth portrays Orpheus as a very kind, honest, loving guy. This image is shattered in the movie as he is very mean and stingy to his wife and creates the ultimate foul by cheating on her. Although Eurydice is not married, her situation is quite ironic. Throughout the movie, we see Eurydice wearing a white dress. This normally symbolizes purity and innocence. This purity is stained when she meets Orpheus and helps him cheat on his fiancйe. The differences in the role of these characters are quite immense throughout the two versions of the story. The myth portrays Orpheus's actions as heroic, but the movie depicts him as a very dishonest and bad lover who cannot be trusted.

After the characters are introduced, the plot has to be established. The differences in the two plots are as significant as the differences in the characters. The most obvious difference in the two editions of the story is Orpheus's engagement. This, however, is just one of the many disparities between the two accounts of the myth. In the myth, Orpheus and Eurydice get married and are extremely happy. Eurydice takes a walk with her bridesmaids when she is bitten by a viper. She is immediately killed, causing Orpheus to go through an overwhelming amount of pain. In the story, however, it is Orpheus that ends up killing Eurydice.

The way that Orpheus kills Eurydice is quite ironic. Throughout the entire movie, Eurydice is extremely paranoid that death is following her. When she gets word that someone is looking for her, she freaks out and begins to leave town. She runs into Hermes who tells her that she should go to his house. As she is running away from town, death begins stalking her. Eurydice reaches Hermes's house and realizes that death is right behind her. A short game of cat and mouse ensues. Meanwhile, Hermes notified Orpheus of the situation and Orpheus bolts to the house, searching for Eurydice. She is hiding from death in a discreet location, holding onto a power line. As Orpheus screams her name, she replies, but he cannot see her. Instinctively, he turns on the lights, electrocuting Eurydice. It is extremely ironic that he ended up killing the person he came to save.

A noticeable difference in the previous scene of Eurydice's death calls a few questions to mind. In the myth, Eurydice has no enemies and is simply unlucky as she is bitten by a snake as she is walking through the fields. In the movie Black Orpheus, however, she is stalked by a man in a skeleton costume who represents death. This makes us question whether it truly was death that was following her, or if she had some enemy that we do not know about. The fact that death actually stalks her makes her appear as if she is a very evil person and that death will



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