Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cupid, Psyche, and the Frog King

The tale of “Cupid and Psyche” and the Brothers Grimm’s “The Frog King” are similar and different. “The Frog King” follows the story of a beautiful princess that is playing by a well one day and loses her favorite golden ball. A frog approaches her and tells her that he will fetch her ball if she allows him to eat with her, sleep in her bed with her, and be her companion. The princess agrees, but hastily forgets the frog as she runs home with her ball. The frog knocks on the princess’s door during dinner that night and the king orders the princess to keep her word. The princess obeys all throughout dinner, but when it comes time for the frog and the princess to go to sleep, the princess throws the frog up against the wall in disgust. Then the frog turns into a handsome prince and the two get married and live happily ever after.
The tale of “Cupid and Psyche” is similar in that both the princess and Psyche were the youngest daughters of the King and were extremely beautiful. Another similarity is that both Psyche and the Princess have to complete three trials. For the princess, she lets the frog sit next to her, eat from her plate, and she takes him to her room. Psyche has to sort grain, gather fleece, and obtain beauty. Another similarity is that both of their husbands are in disguise. In “The Frog King”, the prince is disguised as a frog and only the princess can break the spell. In “Cupid and Psyche”, Cupid doesn’t allow Psyche to see him and is thus in disguise.
The tales have many differences however. In “Cupid and Psyche”, Psyche has to complete her three trials because she disobeyed Cupid and took a candle and looked at him. She has to win him back by completing three trials for his mother Venus. The princess obeys her father and has to complete her trials because she promised the frog she would. Another difference is that Cupid poked Psyche and himself (accidentally) with one of his arrows, which ties them together for eternity. In “The Frog King”, a witch had cast a spell on the frog and only the princess could get him out of the well – this is the factor that binds them.
Both stories contain elements of the husband searching for his wife, and the wife waiting for her husband. The theme of Beauty and the Beast is also evident in both, even though is is more of an underlying theme in “Cupid and Psyche”. 

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