Edith Hamilton takes the love story of Cupid and Psyche, Love and Soul, from a Latin writer of the second century A.D., Apuleius, who, similar to Ovid, creates beautiful, entertaining tales. Consequently, the author uses the Latin names of the gods. The story of Cupid and Psyche represents the determined love between mortal and immortal.
Psyche, the daughter of a king, held a beauty which excelled her sisters' and every other maiden's on the earth. Her shining beauty made her seem a "very goddess consorting with mere mortals" (92). Her surpassing beauty, known all over the earth, caused men from across the world to journey to "gaze upon her with wonder and adoration" as if she beheld immortality. Venus, the Goddess of Love and Beauty, could not even measure up to the loveliness of this mortal. Her temples neglected, Venus becomes enraged; all the praises once hers "were now given to a mere girl destined some day to die" (92).
The jealous goddess immediately turns to her son Cupid, "against whose arrows there is no defense" (92). She commands the God of Love to make Psyche fall in love with the most appalling, unpleasant creature in the world. Cupid, however, falls in love with her and feels as if "he had shot one of his arrows into his own heart" (93). Not only does he fall in love with her himself, but he also prevents anyone from falling in love with her. Strangely, both her sisters, indisputably inferior to her, married kings. The beautiful Psyche remains solitary, "only admired, never loved" (93). Meanwhile, Cupid deceivingly allows Venus to believe that Psyche's ruin will soon arive.
Psyche's father, disturbed by his daughter's loneliness, travels to an oracle of Apollo to ask for advice. The god, whom Cupid had begged for his help, expressed that Psyche, "dressed in deepest mourning," must go to the summit of a rocky hill alone, and that there "her destined husband," a despicable winged ... Continues...