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Black Orpheus

By tmills21 Nov 15, 2011 1142 Words
What can one learn from the story Black Orpheus? Are their even lessons to be learned from this piece? I believe so. In this story the audience becomes witness to predestination and the positive and negative effects in which love can bring. At the beginning of the story Orpheus and his then fiancé, Mira, seek a marriage license. When Orpheus told the man his name he the man immediately turned to Mira and said “And you must be Eurydice?” This infuriated Mira, as it would any other women about to marry what she thinks is the love of her life. But she would soon come to find out that Orpheus is the love of a life, just not hers.

When Orpheus and Mira went to get their marriage license the man at the deck tells them of a story of the ancient Greek myth of a man who travels to the land of the dead to bring back the woman he loves. The myth of Orpheus, the son of Apollo and Calliope, was blessed with lyrical talents. A gift presented to him by his father at the time of his birth. The most memorable story of Orpheus was that of his love Eurydice. Orpheus and Eurydice were married and madly in love, when one day Eurydice was being chased by a man and ran into a snake and was bitten. As a result of the snakebite Eurydice dies. Orpheus then begins to sing of his great sorrows and grief due to the loss of his love. His father then advises his son to go to the underworld Hades to see his wife. For any other person this trip would have been deadly, but Orpheus is protected by the Gods. Once I Hades he then presents himself in front of Pluto and his wife Persephone and began to play for them. Hades then told Orpheus that he would permit him to take Eurydice but under one condition, he could not look at her. Eurydice was to follow him to the light and once they were completely out of the domain of the under world he could then turn around and look at his love that he had traveled to the depths of Hell to retrieve. The news of a second chance to be with is love excited Orpheus. As he walked towards the Orpheus began to become vey anxious. He could not hear nor could he see anything that let him know Eurydice was behind him. Orpheus began to think he had been tricked by the God’s, so he turned around. As a part of his consequence he lost his love. Eurydice was then sent back to the under world never to return to earth nor Orpheus.

In the movie Black Orpheus the story has the plot, but the only difference was the sequence of events that lead up to the traumatic death scenes. This story takes place in the beautiful Rio de Janeiro during the time of the Carnival. Eurydice is introduced as the foreigner who pops in out of nowhere to visit her cousin Serafina. It is then revealed that she is there because she is trying to run away from a man that has been chasing her for some time. This man symbolizes death in the story plot. She and Orpheus meet and fall in love in no time and soon begin to live out their destiny. As a custom of the Carnival tradition the people of Rio de Janeiro dress in costume and dance up and down the street. Knowing that the love between her cousin and Orpheus is to be kept a secret, but also wanting the two to be happy, Serafina then comes up with the idea of Eurydice dressing in her costume so the couple can dance with each other during the festivities. To many this decision is what caused the ultimate demise of Eurydice and Orpheus. As soon as the Carnival begins the man symbolizing death for Eurydice immediately appears. Once Orpheus and Eurydice begin dancing with each other Mira begins to become extremely suspicious. As time passes and the people of the Carnival begin to dance more intensely. While dancing the veil placed over Eurydice’s face in order to hide her face comes off and reveals her identity to not only Mira, but also death. Mira becomes enraged and tries to kill Eurydice. Eurydice manages to break free of Mira’s grasp and runs away. She is then chased by both Mira and death. Orpheus notices he can no longer see Eurydice and begins to look for her. He runs into Mira first and immediately turns her down for he is in search of his true love. Once he finds her she is still frantic due to the fact that she knows death is still in her path. Orpheus promises her she will be safe and he will never leave her. Eurydice is then instructed to go to the pier and hide, she is told she will be safe there. On her way there she is continuously pursued by death. Sensing trouble Orpheus goes to the pier to check on Eurydice. As he enters he turns a switch not knowing Eurydice with holding onto one of the wires to get away from death. Eurydice is then electrocuted and dies as a result of Orpheus turning on the power. Still in shock he goes to the coroner to get Eurydice’s body and take her with him. As he walks up the hill to his home he is seen by Mira and Serafina. The women then begin to fight him while he holds his diseased love and is pushed off the cliff of the mountain.

I believe whether from the book or the movie both Orpheus and Eurydice’s lives were predestined to end the way they did. I am a firm believer that one cannot escape their own fate. Just as in Eurydice’s case, she tries to run away from death but because if the fact that it is already in the plan for her life the question wasn’t whether or not it was going to happen but when. Both story plots also show how love conquers all in any ways. In Orpheus’s case he allowed love to conduct his actions and in turn hurt Mira which ultimately cause his death at the end of the movie. In the story his desire to see Eurydice so soon instead of waiting as the Gods instructed him to was his ultimate demise. I believe the lesson to be learned from this story was that though love can be the base of many one must still take the time to think through the decisions in life so they wont be the cause or have a part in their own fatal ending.

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