Myth and Archetype Analysis
When life presents us with an opportunity where we can get ahead, or allows us a chance to make a past transgression right, we are obliged to discern the occasion and take action. We must move forward with confidence, and not look back, for this may be a once in a life time opportunity. Indecision or hesitation may cause us to miss out on what we really desire in life, and what we may end up with instead is a life filled with regret. Unfortunately, the latter is the case in the Greek myth of “Orpheus and Eurydice” and The Bible story of Lot and his wife.
It was the uncertainty, and lack of confidence in which Orpheus, Lot, and his wife displayed that caused ruin over their lives. In the two stories, the situation archetypal elements were opportunity, doubt and doom. Hell or the underworld was their fate, however in each situation they were given the chance to be spared, but doom and doubt blocked their stroke of luck. In life we must recognize when we are being presented with an opportunity that we may never receive again.
In the myth “Orpheus and Eurydice”, Orpheus was granted a once in a lifetime chance to rescue his beloved Eurydice who had carelessly stepped on a snake, and was carried off to Hades. He immediately partitioned to the gods of Hades, and was granted the opportunity to journey to the underworld to rescue the one who held his affections. With the possibility of having her life spared, Orpheus began to plead his case. In the lyrics of his song to the gods sprung forth the despair he was feeling. He sang, “Oh gods of the underworld, to all who live must come, hear my words.
I am Orpheus, son of Apollo, and I seek my beloved Eurydice. Let me lead her to the earth, or I myself will remain here, for I cannot return alone”. (2) His song was so sorrowful, even the gods of Hades were filled with pity, and could not deny Orpheus’ request. He had received his break, and soon he was reunited with Eurydice, and was allowed to take her back to earth, but only after receiving strict instructions that he must not look back at her, or speak to her, until they reached the upper air. 4) When we receive favor from the gods we must operate in confidence, and that is what Orpheus did. Feeling certain, he took the lead, as they journeyed back to earth moving ever so swiftly, and with great anticipation of making it to the other side. Consequently, just as these emotions began to overtake him, his confidence wavered, and he turned around to confirm Eurydice’s presence. In that instant his blessing was dissolved, and she ade him farewell as she was pulled back down into the belly of Hades, and he, sucked up to earth. Because Orpheus did not remain steadfast in his actions, and allowed the spirit of doubt to interfere with his once in a lifetime opportunity: he lived the remainder of his life filled with doom, and regret until the day he died, and could be reunited with his beloved Eurydice in the underworld. When we are given opportunities to better our situation we must not dwell on the past.
Instead, we must move forward in confidence that what is ahead is going to be better than where we are. In “The Book of Genesis”, the Bible tells us the story of Lot and his wife, and how God was going to spare the lives of Lot and his family in return for his protection over the angels. God was going to bless his family by removing them out of the wrenched city of Sodom. While Lot knew that God was going to destroy the city, it was difficult for him to leave.
He was so entangled in his wealth and status in the city that he hesitated to walk away. Unlike Orpheus, Lot from the beginning lacked the confidence, and discernment needed to receive his miraculous opportunity: even after his request made to God was granted. He said to God, “Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it- it is very small isn’t it? Then my life will be spared. ”(Gen. 19:20) God did grant him this request nonetheless, he proceeded with reluctance.
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. (Gen. 19:16). Lot was doomed from the beginning because he did not appreciate where this once in a lifetime opportunity would take him. Moreover, he preferred to remain where he was, denying his blessing once and for all. Not only do we need to be able to identify an opportunity of a lifetime when it comes our way, moreover, we must naturally accept it, and believe in ourselves and the outcome.
While Lot reluctantly accepted his blessing to be rescued from Sodom, his wife was also uncertain of there fate even in the mist of being led to safety: and while God rained down burning sulfur on the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. They had been instructed to run for their lives, and not to look back, and not to stop anywhere on the plain: yet, with safety on the horizon, Lot’s wife looked back, and became a pillar of salt. Initially, since Lot and his wife (especially Lot) did not want to accept the favor God was giving, their out come was reverse and their lives cursed In life ost of us will be granted opportunities big or small that can change our lives. Sometimes human nature would have us second guess what the universe has in store for us. We may ask ourselves the question “why me”, or we may think ourselves unworthy, or incapable of such opportunities that we camouflage our own success: even when it is in the palm of our hand such as the case in the two comparisons above. When presented with a chance to right a wrong, or to better your life or situation, graciously except your fate, and know that what the universe has for you, is for you.