Eros and Psyche Synopsis

Brothers Mydon and Neleus arrive in the temple of Aphrodite, praying to the goddess that one of them might win the hand of Psyche, the most beautiful woman in the world. Mydon’s praise of Psyche goes too far, however, and unbeknownst to him, the jealous Aphrodite hears and leaves to find her son Eros to seek revenge, not on Mydon, but on Psyche. A chorus, meanwhile, introduces Psyche, the most beautiful (and curious) woman in the world, along with her two jealous sisters, Philia and Phobia. The sisters ask Psyche why she’s rejected such wealthy and powerful suitors. Psyche says they only come to admire her looks and that she will only marry a man who can carry on a conversation with her.

Aphrodite finds her son Eros and demands that he make Psyche fall in love with a pig so that she’ll roll around in the mud, be covered in filth, and no longer be beautiful. To shut her up, Eros agrees, but when he arrives to find Psyche being wooed by Mydon and Neleus, he becomes fascinated and makes the brothers fall in love with Philia and Phobia respectively. Eros and Psyche speak without seeing one another. The sisters and their new husbands go to the temple of Aphrodite.

The sisters are afraid that their husbands will fall back in love with Psyche and want to be rid of her. They call upon Aphrodite for answers, but Eros arrives before his mother and tells them to dress Psyche all in black, as if for a funeral, and to take her to the mountains where her husband will claim her. Aphrodite overhears this and is furious, but Eros insists that he loves her. Aphrodite curses him. If he loves Psyche, then he is also cursed with the dark side of love, jealousy. When he perceives that Psyche has betrayed him, he will turn into a hideous monster and she will never love him.

Psyche is whisked off to Eros’ palace where she is attended by the Chorus. Eros meets with her wearing a mask. He tells her that everything in the mansion is hers and that he will give her absolutely anything she wants. Psyche says all she wants is company so her sisters are brought. They grow jealous of Psyche’s new fortune and start to fill her mind with doubts about her new husband. When they return home, Aphrodite, disguised as a servant of Eros, agrees to take them and their husbands to the palace so they can steal all the wealth. She shoots the suitors with Eros’ love arrows, making them fall back in love with Psyche. Eros walks in to see them wooing her and he turns into a monster. The sisters run into the cursed form of Eros, however, and are frightened. They become convinced that their sister is married to a monster and that he must be slain.

Psyche fights against the suitors until her sisters return. They reveal that Psyche is married to a monster. The suitors, still in love with her, each try to out-macho the other, promising to destroy the beast and free Psyche of this terrible curse. Psyche refuses to believe that her husband is evil. Aphrodite arrives and invisibly tells the sisters to send Psyche armed with a knife to defeat the creature. Satisfied that it will kill her and rid the world of her beauty, the sisters agree and arm Psyche, sending her off.

Aphrodite visits Eros who is completely dejected, convinced that Psyche could never have loved him. This satisfies Aphrodite until Psyche arrives. Eros calls her a traitor, but Psyche describes how suddenly the suitors’ affections fell upon her and he realizes that it must have been one of his arrows. Aphrodite defends her actions, declaring that mortals love with their eyes, not their hearts. Psyche proves this wrong, kissing Eros and announcing that she loves him. With this, Aphrodite is satisfied.

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