Micheline Barta

The Demythicization of the Myth of Orpheus

or The Overcoming of Death by the Word

The Myth of Orpheus has known a long life, having travelled down the ages until it reached us, with its power and appeal undiminished. The question arises : why ? Because, at first sight, its theme is what haunts every man, that of his death followed by the unknown. Will that unknown be a descent into Hell, an ascent to Heaven, or a plunge into nothingness, — the latter thought being clearly unbearable for man ? But this is only an outline of the answer to the question. A more in-depth study of the matter would be required to obtain a more detailed and specific answer. Orpheus’s undertaking ended in failure. The cause of such failure is what forms the subject of the article, namely the demythicization of the Myth.