The Bloodless Spirits Wept: Orpheus's Perpetual Love through Literature and Film
Ovid scripted the tragic love story of Orpheus and Eurydice over two thousand years ago in his magnum opus, Metamorphoses. The mutability of this myth continues to be examined and adapted still today in a variety of mediums, including literature, film, opera, and music. The power of their love is portrayed in Marcel Camus’s 1959 film Orfeu Negro. Camus focuses on Orpheus’s perpetual love as the premise for a modern day romance, enhancing the myth with his own interpretation, while remaining true to other aspects of the myth. The purpose of this paper is to examine two specific directorial choices by Camus, the addition of Hermes and the role of music, and the effect these choices have on the viewer as they consider the overall constancy and potency of the love shared by Orpheus and Eurydice. Although there are more parallels between the film and Ovid’s tale, I will focus on these specific comparisons and contrasts on Camus’s part to create an even more poignant narrative between the ill-fated lovers and how these choices allow the tradition of the perpetual love story between Orpheus and Eurydice to remain timeless.