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Contrasting the Black Orpheus Film and the Greek Myth of Orpheus

Good Essays
Contrasting the Black Orpheus Film and the Greek Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice

If you met a man named Orpheus who had a girlfriend, would you assume her name was Eurydice? Many people would, because the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is from “many, many thousand years ago” and is still passed on today, verbally and through works of literature. In his 1959 film Black Orpheus, Marcel Camus interprets this well-known myth, making changes to the story to make it more dramatic and interesting. Black Orpheus is substantially different from the original myth because Orpheus has a girlfriend before meeting Eurydice, Hermes plays a different role, Orpheus kills Eurydice, Orpheus cannot bring Eurydice back from the underworld, and Orpheus’ death
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In the scene where Mira and Serafina are putting on their costumes and Eurydice runs away, Mira confronts Orpheus about her, and asks if he has slept with her. When Mira finds Orpheus wearing Eurydice’s scarf, she threatens to kill Eurydice if she sees him with Orpheus again. At Carnival, Mira sees Orpheus dancing with Eurydice in Serafina’s costume, but doesn’t realize it until she sees Serafina in the crowd. Then she chases Eurydice through the crowd with a spiked weapon until death stops her and takes over the chase. Mira did not exist in the original myth because Orpheus was only in love with Eurydice. Camus focuses on a new person to add new elements to the story. He can easily show jealousy and the control that Mira uses on Orpheus.

The next part of the film that differs from the myth is the role that Hermes plays. Originally, he is the guide to the underworld and messenger of the gods. However, Hermes in Black Orpheus is a supervisor at the depot, where he lives. He knows where everything is in Rio, and he is “always on duty here.” In the scene where Orpheus is looking for the underworld, a janitor is his guide. Camus suggests that Rio may actually be the underworld since many people ride a ferry into the town, and Hermes is well-known there. After Orpheus gives up on bringing Eurydice back from the underworld, Hermes has arranged for
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