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Love Got to Do With It? Underworld to retrieve his dead bride, Eurydice, has, at least since the sixth century BCE, epitomized the transcendent nature of art and the tragic impotence of erotic love in the face of death. The temptation to treat stories about Orpheus as though they belonged to a consistent tradition should be resisted. If we accept that there might be rival, even mutually inconsistent tales, then we are not obliged to try and fit them all into a single, coherent scheme.
Eurydice, from the gloomy Greek Underworld so that they might be re-joined to enjoy a long life of wedded bliss together upon the sunlit earth. The romantic figure of the youthful, active, passionate, sensitive musician who seeks to rescue the nubile, silent, passive, wounded woman is enormously compelling from a feminine psychological perspective. In Part I, following a brief and necessarily partial introduction to the Orpheus figure as a patron of the arts, the present chapter examines three famous tales of Orpheus: his pre-descent role as the spiritual leader of the crew of the Argo after their visit with the Lemnian women, his contest with the Sirens, and his descent to reclaim the nymph Eurydice from the Underworld. Part II addresses the concerns of Part I in the form of three semiotic content analyses of those full-length narrative films which take the Orphic descent myth as their primary text. Orphée, an elaborately misogynistic appropriation of the descent myth set in post-WWII Paris and surrounds. Orfeu da Conceiçâo, set in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval.