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Echo and Narcissus Summary

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Echo and Narcissus Summary

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  • September 2006
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Narcissus and Echo
Liriope, a fair nymph long coveted by mortal and immortal alike, was the victim of rape by the hands of Cephisus, the river god. The result of the ugly abuse was a beautiful boy, Narcissus. Liriope inquired Tiresias, a seer, about the longevity of her new son. Tiresias replied, "If e'er he knows himself he surely dies." The worried mother watched as her son grew older and more enchanting each day. The angelic nymphs of the water and ground threw themselves at the feet of the stunning Narcissus and vainly confessed their love. Narcissus thought that only someone equal to his own magnificence was deserving of his love. He had yet to find his ideal, and brushed off the many admirers with emotional detachment. Echo, a nymph cursed only to say the words last spoken, became victim of Narcissus's physical charm and quickly loved him. Echo spotted lovely Narcissus alone in the woods and pursued him. When opportunity presented itself, Echo threw herself into the arms of a disgusted Narcissus. She could not properly speak her love and Narcissus through her away. Not even Echo's dire situation could move him to love. Echo flew to exile in caves and solitary woods, where she pined for unattainable love. She wasted away in the cave, leaving petrified bones and her poisonous voice. Many nymphs, like Echo, had been turned away. His lackadaisical attitude towards the nymphs provoked an invocation directed to Nemesis, the goddess of revenge. The distraught nymph cried, "Oh may he love like me, and love like me in vain!" Nemesis answered the prayer and revenged the discouraged nymphs. In search for refreshment after a day of hunting, Narcissus stumbled upon a pool of water. The pool was the visual of perfection. Nothing disturbed its beauty. When Narcissus dipped to get some water, he saw his own reflection and discovered himself. Narcissus believed that his reflection was a river god and instantly loved him for his rare beauty. His reflection was as...