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"The Story of Pyramus and Thisbe"

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Sarah Pippin

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of "The Story of Pyramus and Thisbe"

"The Story of Pyramus and Thisbe"
By: Sarah Pippin

Background
Summary
Archetypes
Situational Archetypes
The Hero's Journey:
There are many elements of "the hero's journey" archetype in "The Story of Pyramus and Thisbe." The "ordinary world" is Pyramus and Thisbe growing up as neighbors in their Babylonian homes. Their "call to adventure" is when the two fall in love. The two forbidden lovers "cross the threshold" when they decide to sneak away and meet face to face at Ninus' Tomb. Their enemies include their parents and the random lioness that scares Thisbe away and forces Pyramus to believe his love is dead. The "innermost cave" is when Pyramus finds Thisbe's bloody veil and assumes she is dead. At this point he loses the sense of innocence that he once had and kills himself. Thisbe "reemerges" from her hiding place to find her love has perished, and she too takes her own life. Their "seizing the sword" is when both stab themselves and take their own lives in order to be with the other forever.
"The Story of Pyramus and Thisbe" is told by Ovid in his book of myths entitled
Metamorphoses
.
(translated by Rolfe Humphries)
The country of origin for this tragedy is Rome around the time period of 100 A.D.
"The hero's journey"
"The unhealable wound"
"Ill-fated love"
Symbolic barrier
Colors of the berries
The hero
"The devil figure"
"Star-crossed lovers"
Situational Archetypes (cont.)
The Unhealable Wound:
"The unhealable wound" archetype is represented through Pyramus's assumption of Thisbe's death, the unbearable loss of the other, and both of the lovers' stab wounds.






Ill-Fated Love:
Two forbidden lovers who come to a tragic end is displayed as the "ill-fated love" archetype in this tragedy.
Symbolic Archetype
The Wall:
The physical and symbolic barrier of the wall sets up the archetype of separation between close people by circumstance and something physical.








Colors

White:
The white color of the berries from the mulberry tree symbolizes purity, peace and innocence.





Red:
When the berries are turned red, their new color represents blood, sacrifice, wounds, death and violent passion.
Character Archetypes
The Hero:
Pyramus and Thisbe are both considered heroes of love.







Star-Crossed Lovers:
As two people who care immensely, but due to their circumstances, cannot be together, Pyramus and Thisbe set up the archetype of "star-crossed lovers."
Greek Mythology
"The Story of Pyramus and Thisbe" references Greek mythology and the gods, as well as sets up common and recognizable myths for future stories, such as in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."
Heroic Image
Pyramus becomes a hero by killing himself for Thisbe. Thisbe also kills herself as a hero for her love.
Roman Culture
Parents had the ultimate decision over the choice of spouse for their children.

In the Roman society at the time, there was not an overwhelming fear of death, possibly due to a frequent exposure to war or disease.

It is ultimately not the gods' responsibility to step in and solve everyone's problems. The gods take a very passive role in this story as they sit back and simply watch the tragedy unfold. Though Pyramus and Thisbe seem to have done no wrong to the gods, they find themselves as victims to a cruel fate.
The Devil Figure:
The "devil figure" in this tragic story is the lioness, who causes Thisbe to flee and Pyramus to think she was dead, ultimately leading to the tragic ending.

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