Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Cupid and Psyche" vs "The Frog King"

Most people know the face of the person they are about to marry. In society, for the most part, the bride and groom have known each other and dated for a decent amount of time. Very rarely in most cultures, have the bride and groom never met and even then they probably have at least seen a picture of the person they are marrying.

The opposite is true in the fairy tale "The Frog King" and the myth "Cupid and Psyche". In both, the bride- the Princess and Psyche- did not know what their future husband looked like and this caused them to become frightened. In her fear and anger, the princess threw the frog against a wall which caused him to turn into a handsome and kind prince, causing her to lose her fear of him and fully accept him. Psyche is initially a little afraid of her new husband who she was forbidden to see the face of, but quickly lost her fear when he was kind to her. She only became truly fearful of him when her jealous sisters convinced her that her husband Cupid was a terrible monster that was going to eat her and her unborn child. Although both female protagonists were afraid of their husbands, it was for very different reasons.

Although their stories are similar, the Princess and Psyche are extremely different characters.

The Princess is depicted as a spoiled brat who is only concerned with getting what she wants and will make promises she does not intent to keep in order to achieve her goal. She promises the frog many things so that he will retrieve her golden ball for her but once she has it back, she forgets all about him and will only keep her promises when her father, the king, orders her too. She is also shown as extremely shallow as she only keeps her promise to the frog once he has transformed into a handsome prince.

By contrast, Psyche is shown as a much kinder and pious character. She grows to truly love and care for her husband even when she can't see his face. It is only when her sisters come and in jealousy convince her to fear for her and her unborn child's safety does she disobey his wishes. After she has disobeyed Cupid and he has left her, she works tirelessly to be able to get him back including doing impossible tasks set to her by the goddess Venus -Cupid's mother- which she completes with help from friendly animals and spirits. Psyche is the one who works to earn back what she once had and is rewarded with eternity with her husband. The Princess is rewarded with the Prince even though she has been proven to be spoiled, shallow and undeserving.

In the two tales "The Frog King" and "Cupid and Psyche", the two heroines are in the end rewarded with kind husbands who care for them. However Psyche is the one who worked to earn back her husband after her mistake caused her to lose him. On the other hand though, the Princess was mean, did not keep her promises and was still rewarded with the Prince. Of the two, Psyche was more deserving because she worked for it. The two stories show similar plots, but with very different female protagonists.


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