A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Romance of Echo and Narcissus

A Painting of Echo and Narcissus
According to Greek Mythology, Echo was a nymph, who was well known for talking a lot. Once when Zeus, the King of Gods, was busy romancing some other nymphs, Hera, his jealous wife came down to earth looking for him. Zeus used Echo to distract Hera. Every time Hera asked something, Echo would start talking endlessly, giving enough time to Zeus and the nymphs to move away. It took some time for Hera to realise this and it upset her to no end.

Hera cursed Echo, that from then onwards, she would not be able to speak on her own; she would only repeat the last words of the person who speaks to her!

Narcissus was the son of a river god and a nymph. On his birth, the sages had predicted, that Narcissus, would live very long, provided he didn’t see his face. His mother immediately ensured that all mirrors be removed from the vicinity, and soon Narcissus grew up to be a handsome young man, who spurned, the love of many a nymph, man and woman, as he believed that none were worthy of his love.

After Echo had lost her ability to speak on her own, once she saw Narcissus, and fell in love with him instantly. During the chase in the jungle, Narcissus said – “Who’s there?”, and all poor Echo managed to repeat was “there”, and this went on, till Echo flung herself on him, to be violently rejected by Narcissus. This left Echo heartbroken.

Narcissus Flowers
The chase had left Narcissus, very tired and thirsty. He came across a clear still brook and decided to quench his thirst. Narcissus had always seen his shadow, but never his reflection. On seeing his reflection, he instantly fell in love with himself. He tried to kiss the beautiful boy he saw, only to realize that his love would never be reciprocated. But he was too much in love with himself and could not come to terms with the reality. He remained there near the brook, till his life drained out of him. When Echo reached there, all she found was a flower in the place where Narcissus, lay. This flower Narcissus is said to grow on the sides of rivers and brooks, as if Narcissus is still gazing at himself.

Echo in the meanwhile was saddened by the death of Narcissus, and it is said that she still wanders around in the mountains of the world, seeking her love. She is found in deep valleys and caves, and if you call out to her, and if she is home, she will answer back, the last words of the caller! That’s how we get the meaning of ‘echo’. Now you also know why a person who is so full of himself is known to have a ‘Narcissistic’ personality!

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