We have come to use the words “comedy” and “tragedy” very differently than the Greeks, which is who we get those two words from.
For the Greeks, a comedy was any narrative that started darkly – pain, suffering, death, grief – and ended happily – joy, love, marriage, reconciliation, even birth.
A tragedy, on the other hand, ran the opposite direction – from bliss to sorrow, from peace to strife.
Given that definition, the tale of Cupid and Psyche is a comedy.
The visual narrative can be found in Greek art dating back to the 4th century B.C.E.; however, we have no extant literary sources until the 2nd century C.E., where it appears as a central chapter in Apuleius’ The Golden Ass. In the same way that his fellow Roman, Ovid, retold (and reinterpreted) Greek myths, this is as close to the source material as we can…
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