Historical story

Orpheus and Eurydice:Modern culture reflected in the retelling of stories

Retell classic fiction in modern contexts

Retoldings of stories in the public domain such as fairy tales such as Cinderella, classical literature such as Sherlock Holmes and plays such as Romeo and Juliet are a popular storytelling practice due to the excitement of creativity and innovation to develop a story where the core concepts are already good. known. Modern contexts used in classic stories give the message, the tropics and the story lines a more familiar understanding of modern audiences. Unknown settings and old language styles are often challenging for modern readers to connect to or understand. Retelling stories in a modern context can communicate intended messages in a relatable way the source material could not. Changing the framework of a classical story provides new interpretations and opportunities for symbolism to represent the overall message.

Retelling stories captures interest because they present the familiar; recognition of the core themes of the original stories that have been redesigned to fit the action of the retelling. Knowing how a story goes and ends brings excitement when you see puzzle pieces collapse in a creative way. Modern audiences recognize themselves in the rhythm of popular stories built into related environments in modern retellings.

When classic stories are retold in modern contexts, they are not only relatable, but directly reflect modern and youthful culture. They represent current social and cultural dilemmas and narratives while following the general themes of the original story.

Retell Greek myths in modern contexts

Greek mythology is often preferred in retelling, Myths depict the actions of mythological figures and shape how they are interpreted by the audience. This is demonstrated by variations in myths that create different perceptions of mythological figures, and the purpose of the narratives presented in their myths, such as portraying Medusa as a monster attacking innocents or an innocent victim of the gods. In retellings, exploring myths to recreate a prominent figure and their stories in new contexts or perspectives brings intrigue; especially when the context is modern and therefore even more related to modern readers.

Retellings of Greek myths adhere to the core concepts, core events of the story, and the final conclusions; otherwise, the retelling may be unrecognizable from the original myth. Retellings with new contexts attract interest in the creative narratives in the stories and characters. The characters' actions can be recontextualized to modern cultural standards and circumstances, and are therefore understandable to modern audiences. This brings new interest in their stories, or even new widespread perceptions of these myths based on modern social standards.

The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice

The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is simple in design. Orpheus, the son of the God of music, played the lyre so beautifully that he reassured everyone who heard his songs. He and Eurydice fell in love and married happily. One day, Eurydice stepped on a snake that bit her, and killed her instantly. Orpheus played his lyre and sang about his grief, which made both people and gods cry. He was asked to travel to the underworld to bring Eurydice back to life, and he left with divine protection.

Orpheus sang and played sweetly in front of the spirits, Cerberus, Hades and Persephone, the rulers of the underworld. Hades then agreed that Eurydice could return to life if she followed Orpheus out of the underworld. However, Orpheus could never look back to see her until they both reached the upper world. Unable to see or hear Eurydice, Orpheus began to doubt that she was there and that Hades had not deceived him. When he reached the upper world, Orpheus turned and condemned Eurydice to the underworld forever. Orpheus tried to return to the underworld, but failed, since no living creature could enter the realm twice.

retelling Orpheus and Eurydice

In any retelling of this myth in modern contexts, the core concepts, events and the ultimate ending must match the original story. The core concepts will be the separation of two lovers, then one goes a long way to reconcile only to fail at the last minute, and most likely the inclusion of music. The core events will be the lovers together, then the character representing Eurydice leaving for some reason, and the character representing Orpheus trying to reunite and then the choice the character makes to fail. The ultimate end is that the lovers eventually do not reunite, despite all the effort.

All of these factors make history what it is; a tragedy, but still a series of events that have great significance for the characters' hearts. How these core concepts, events and endings are presented in modern retellings, directly reflects the real cultural challenges and values ​​in the reality of that context.

Retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice :Hadestown Summary

hadestown is a Broadway musical written by Anais Mitchell that retells the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in the modern, American-like setting during the Great Depression.

The retelling begins with Eurydike singing about extreme weather and hard times. Orpheus addresses her with a romantic serenade, claiming that his song will end the intense weather. Persephone comes from Hadestown, the underworld, with summer. Eurydice falls in love with Orpheus, but Hades arrives soon to bring Persephone back to Hadestown. The harsh winter and famine then returned. Eurydice struggles to give, while Orpheus struggles to complete his song due to the dissonance of Hades and Persephone. Hades seeks out the starving Eurydice and offers her security in Hadestown. Barely survives, Eurydice sings goodbye and follows Hades.

Orpheus embarks on his journey to Hadestown. Eurydice realizes that she will be transformed into a thoughtless worker forever. While Eurydice sings his lament, Orpheus comes. He promises to take her home, but Hades reveals that Eurydice can never leave. Orpheus promises to defy Hadestown's injustice. Persephone asks Hades to release Eurydice, while the workers begin to protest their lack of freedom. Hades, angry, asks Orpheus to sing.

Orpheus sings a love song, bringing Hades and Persephone to dance together. Hades is unsure of his decision. Fates mock Hades, because making them go or become both can damage his reputation. He agrees to let them go if Orpheus leads and does not turn around until they are outside Hadestown. If he turns around, she's doomed to stay forever. Orpheus and Eurydice begin their journey, singing about love and hope. When Orpheus reaches the end, he is overwhelmed by doubt and turns around, forcing Eurydice back to Hadestown. At the end of the play, Hermes sings about singing tragedies in the hope of how things could be.

Retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice :The girl from the song Summary

The Girl from the Song is a movie that retells Orpheus and Eurydice in modern British and American contexts. The myth is not exactly followed, but is used loosely alongside mythological symbolism to achieve an overall story.

The film begins with Eric, a college student in London, practicing his guitar. Jo often turns to Eric and lets him perform at a club. Eric learns that Jo is going to the Nevada Burning Man music festival with his friend Penelope and ex-girlfriend Alex. Eric and Jo share their passions and fall in love. Jo later tells Eric that she's not coming to Burning Man. However, after talking to Penelope, Eric learns that she went to Burning Man without telling him. He flies to Nevada to follow her. A taxi driver drives Eric to the festival and gives him a ticket and a guitar. He finds Alex, who mocks him, but lets him come to their camp to get him to play for them.

Eric first blames Alex for leaving, but realizes that Jo loved him. Eric announces that Jo left because she was afraid of getting involved. He confesses his own fear, and promises not to leave her. They are reconciled and enjoy time together. Penelople and Alex often flirt with Jo and Eric learns that Jo is planning to travel to Tijuana with them. Eric sings the song he wrote for Jo, and she promises not to go to Tijuana.

That night, Penelope asks Jo to drink with them while Eric goes to bed. Overcome by doubt, Eric searches for Jo and fights Alex. Eric admits his doubts about her fidelity, and says he thought she would leave. Jo cries that she will return with him, but their relationship will not work without trust. Jo's going with Penelope and Alex, and Eric's going with the driver.

Reflections of modern culture - the meaning of constants and changes

The modern retelling of this classic myth follows the original story to varying degrees. This is to communicate messages that are relevant to the newer plots, and more accurately reflect modern cultural and social challenges. The modern contexts and changes in these retellings evoke familiarity and depict struggles in a recognizable way for modern audiences. Taken together, these retellings provide a more personal understanding and a deeper resonance of the characters, their emotions, choices and tragedy.


The play follows the story closely in a unique modern context, and imagines an American setting during the Great Depression. Yet in this world, the Greek gods also exist naturally and control the weather, the harvest, and the possibility of famine. Human struggle is caused by dissonant gods, and that adversity is only eliminated when Hades and Persephone are reconciled. Hadestown's challenges with the endless work of building walls and sacrificing freedom take place in the underworld of the dead.

These wonderful elements still flow naturally into the more modern context through metaphors. Hadestown reflects the burdens of capitalism and poverty. The masses sacrifice personality to support the few wealthy and reap no benefits for themselves. Hades describes himself as the king and employer of souls, and reconnects the working souls to the real world intensive work done by the poor at the expense of their freedom.

Eurydice's death was shaped as a choice in which she ran a train and signed a contract to become a worker. Her death resembled a metaphor of selling her freedom in exchange for presumed security more than a literal death. Orpheus literally travels to the underworld to save Eurydice, and he sings in front of the gods, destinies and deceased souls, but everything is presented in line with the realistic, modern world of railroad cars and struggles with poverty and employment.

The story of Orpheus and Eurydice becomes less about persuading the gods, and more about choices and unjust systems caused by greater powers. These challenges are very much related to modern audiences living in a predominantly capitalist world. The couples' struggle to survive together against the environment, politics and the economy, and their mastery of losing ideals, present familiarity to modern American audiences.

The girl from the song

The film follows the story loosely in completely new modern contexts, changes the efforts and challenges, but has the overall thematic message of the original myth remain. Instead of dying, Jo leaves the country for a vacation and then breaks up with Eric when he returns in the form of doubting her love for him. There are no wonderful elements of gods and divine trials, nor epic missions to overcome death. Instead, the concept of a musician who loses his girlfriend and travels to take her home only to fail at the last minute due to doubt is what governs history, without any of the impersonal contexts of antiquity and mythological efforts.

The only efforts present in the film are love and trust between two individuals and the relationship they can share depending on their choice, not depending on death or the laws of the gods. The modern context of this retelling opens up for connections to a wider audience and modern challenges of struggling with new relationships and challenges of distance and doubt.

Modern Agency Reflections

The play and the film change Eurydice's death by giving the recreated character a much greater degree of freedom of action. Greek myths often assign female characters to passive roles, or to motivations for male characters. In myth, Eurydice has no control over her death, Orpheus' decision to revive her, or his reversal.

Yet in the play, Eurydice chooses to die to work in Hadestown because she doubts her and Orpheus' abilities to survive in distress. In the film, Jo chooses to leave Eric for Burning Man with her friends due to her own struggles with commitment. When he arrives, Jo Eric rejects his devotion, and Eurydice rejects Orpheus for fear of Hade's anger. Eurydice had no control over Orpheus' turning, but sang actively to him to have hope before he did. Jo had no control over Eric coming back and fighting Alex, but she chose to break up with him because of it.

The increased freedom of action given to Eurydice in these modern retellings reflects the increased expectation of female freedom of action in modern culture, in relationships and major life decisions. The retellings then become intriguing and make the story more familiar to the modern audience, recognizing the true importance of women's freedom of action and active roles in their stories, whether the challenges are caused by political systems or questions of trust in romance.

Modern reflections of doubt

Both retellings also change narrative for doubt is one's fall from the original myth. In the film, Eric's biggest moment of doubt brings their story to tragedy when he doubts that Jo will not choose to leave him or cheat on him. It is his doubt about her that drives her to end the relationship completely, just as her doubts and fear of commitment drove her to leave him for Burning Man to begin with. This twist on the narrative of doubt in modern contexts is more relatable and familiar as the film focuses on tragic endings in relationships caused not by doubt in amazing powers like the Greek gods, but in each other as they struggle to maintain a healthy relationship.

In the play, Orpheus' great moment of doubt in the system he lives in. During the play, he learns the pain of fighting to survive, and loses optimism. After seeing the worst in the world, he doubts that Hades would actually let him travel with Eurydice, or that Eurydice would willingly live in need again, and turns around. In the same way, Eurydice doubts the systems of the world they live in, with her struggling for a lifetime of potential betrayal and unbearable poverty, and the doubt that she can live happily with Orpheus is the reason she chooses to go to Hadestown.

Doubt and trust are crucial components in the challenges and successes of any romantic relationship, especially those of young people like Orpheus and Eurydice, and Eric and Jo. They are often the factors that strengthen or destroy relationships. Making these struggles very human in these retellings, rather than the struggles of doubting a God, reflects much more the challenges modern audiences want to see and the emotions they can personally understand.