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Cupid and Psyche Summary

How It (Supposedly) Went Down

A king and queen have three daughters.
All three of the girls are attractive, but one of them is absolutely gorgeous Psyche.
People come from all around just to check out how beautiful Psyche is.
All this adoration of Psyche gets totally out of hand; men start worshiping her as if she were a
goddess and ignore the altars of the goddess of love and beauty, Venus (a.k.a. Aphrodite).
Men even start saying that Psyche is more beautiful than Venus. (Uh-oh.)
We bet you can guess who got mad about this. Yup, that's right Venus.
The goddess of love gets kind of hateful and orders her son, Cupid (a.k.a. Eros), to go and punish
Psyche by making her fall in love with the ugliest thing around.
Cupid sneaks into Psyche's bedroom to do his mother's bidding, but, when he sees how beautiful
Psyche is, he gets all distracted and pricks himself with his own arrow.
Cupid falls instantly in love with Psyche and leaves without doing what his mother told him to
Psyche's life continues on as usual: everybody comes to gawk at how hot she is.
However, since Venus has it in for her, nobody ever falls in love with Psyche.
Psyche's two sisters end up getting married, but Psyche is stuck sitting alone in her room.
Getting worried that they've made some god angry, Psyche's parents decide to go consult the
oracle of Apollo about their daughter's future.
The oracle tells them that Psyche is destined to marry a monster that neither god nor mortal can
Psyche's parents are instructed to leave her on a mountain to await her monstrous husband. They
cry a lot about it, but they do it anyway.
So, Psyche is chilling on top of the mountain, fully expecting something terrible to happen.
Zephyr, the west wind, comes and lifts her, carrying the princess gently from the mountaintop
down to a beautiful field of flowers.
Psyche comes across an amazing castle and goes inside. The place is decked out with tons of
treasure and priceless pieces of art.
She hears voices that tell her that the palace and all the amazing stuff in it is hers.
She's treated to a wonderful feast, complete with an invisible singing chorus for entertainment.
Her husband-to-be comes to her that night in the darkness of her bedroom, so she can't see what
he looks like. He tells her that she must never try to see what he looks like.
She's cool with that for a while, but eventually she gets lonely since he only comes at night and
because there are no other humans around.
Psyche convinces her invisible husband to let her sisters come and visit her. He reluctantly agrees
and has Zephyr float them down.
Psyche's sisters get super-jealous about her incredibly posh lifestyle. They start interrogating her
about who her husband is.
At first, Psyche lies and says he's a handsome young man who spends all day hunting in the
mountains. They don't buy it, though, and keep pumping her for information.
Eventually, Psyche admits that she's never seen him and that he only comes at night.
The jealous sisters remind Psyche of the prophecy that she would marry a monster, and they
convince their sister that she has to see what her husband looks like.
They advise her to wait until he's asleep, then stand over him with a lamp and a knife (in case he's
a monster).
That night she follows her sisters' advice and sees that her husband is none other than Cupid.
Psyche is blown away by how ridiculously handsome her husband is. She's so distracted that she
lets a drop of oil fall and burns his skin.
Cupid wakes up and sees his wife standing there with the lamp and a knife.
Furious, he flies out the window, telling Psyche that she'll never see him again.
The beautiful palace disappears and Psyche is left all alone.
Totally depressed, Psyche goes back to her sisters and tells them what happened.
As if they hadn't already shown how totally awful they were, the sisters now go to the
mountaintop thinking that one of them might take Psyche's husband for themselves.
They jump off the mountain, expecting Zephyr to take them down. (No such luck.)
The jealous sisters fall to their deaths on the rocks below.
Meanwhile, Psyche wanders around trying to find Cupid.
She ends up going to a temple of Ceres (a.k.a. Demeter), goddess of the harvest. The temple is a
total wreck, so Psyche cleans it up.
Ceres is impressed with Psyche's devotion.
Psyche asks for some help.
Ceres wishes she could give Psyche a hand, but the goddess says she can't go against Venus.
Ceres advises Psyche to go to Venus and humbly beg for forgiveness.
Psyche takes Ceres' advice and presents herself to Venus.
Venus is still crazy mad and gives Psyche a tongue lashing, telling the girl that Cupid is still
trying to recover from the burn that the oil gave him when it dripped on him.
The goddess of love tells Psyche that she must prove herself worthy to be Cupid's wife by
completing a task.
Psyche is taken to a storehouse full of wheat, millet, barley, and all kinds of stuff that Venus uses
to feed her pigeons.
Psyche is ordered to organize all the different kinds of grain the wheat with the wheat, the
barley with the barley, etc.
The job seems pretty much impossible, and, to make matters worse, Venus orders Psyche to get it
done by evening.
Cupid intervenes, however, and inspires a colony of ants to come out of the ground and help out
Psyche. (Phew! We were worried that Rumpelstiltskin might show up.)
The ants get the job done and disappear underground.
Venus returns and tells Psyche that it doesn't count, because Psyche couldn't have done it by
The next day the goddess of love gives her daughter-in-law another task. Psyche must collect
golden fleece from the back of every sheep in a herd that hangs out by a river.
As she's about to cross the river, though, a river god warns Psyche that, if she tries it when the sun
is rising, the human-hating rams will kill her.
The helpful river god advises her to wait until the noontime sun makes the herd go chill out in the
shade; then the rams won't mess with her.
Psyche follows the river god's advice and safely collects the wool.
Venus is still not satisfied, though, saying again that Psyche didn't do it on her own.
Next, the love goddess orders Psyche to go down to the world of the dead and see Proserpine
(a.k.a. Persephone), the queen of the underworld and wife of Pluto (a.k.a. Hades). Venus says she
wants Psyche to bring a little bit of Proserpine's beauty back in a box.
Psyche bravely heads off to find the underworld, but she's really upset this time going to the
land of the dead is beyond dangerous.
How is Psyche supposed to get to the underworld? Is she supposed to kill herself? She seems to
think so.
Thankfully, before Psyche jumps off a cliff, she hears a voice (Cupid) that tells her how to pull it
off. The voice tells her where there's a cave that leads down to the underworld, how to convince
Charon (the ferryman) to take her there and back, and how to avoid Cerberus, the vicious three-
headed dog who guards the underworld.
Psyche makes it to Pluto and Proserpine's palace in the land of the dead and tells Proserpine that
Venus wants to borrow a little beauty.
A box is given to Psyche, and she's on her way.
The voice warns Psyche not to open the box, no matter what she does, but Psyche's just so
curious and can't help herself. The girl opens the box, thinking that, if she had a little of the
beauty herself, then she'd truly be worthy of Cupid.
Unfortunately, there's no beauty in the box at all, and when Psyche takes off the lid, she's plunged
into a deep sleep, collapsing in the middle of the road.
Cupid, who has finally recovered from his burn, flies to help his wife. He wakes her up with one
of his arrows, and he points out that once again her curiosity has gotten her in trouble.
Cupid tells her to take the box to Venus and to let him take care of the rest.
He flies to Jupiter (a.k.a. Zeus), and he begs the king of the gods to help him and Psyche.
Jupiter summons Venus and convinces her to chill out about the whole thing.
Then he brings Psyche up to Mt. Olympus, the home of the gods, and gives her some ambrosia,
which makes the girl immortal.
At long last, Cupid and Psyche get to be together.
Cupid and Psyche end up having a daughter together, named Voluptas (a.k.a. Hedone, sometimes
translated as Pleasure).

Cupid and Psyche Heroes Journey
The Hero's Journey is a framework that scholar Joseph Campbell came up with that many myths
and stories follow. Many storytellers and story-readers find it a useful way to look at tales.
(That's actually putting it lightly. Some people are straight-up obsessed.) Chris Vogler adapted
Campbell's 17 stages of a hero's journey, which many screenwriters use while making movies.
Vogler condensed Campbell's 17 stages down to 12, which is what we're using. To read a general
explanation of the 12 stages, click here.
Psyche's story doesn't fit perfectly into the Hero's Journey structure, but we're giving it a shot. As
the gross old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. Here's how we've diced up the
Stage 1: The Ordinary World
Psyche's living her life in the normal world when Venus up and gets jealous of the mortal girl's
beauty. Venus ensures that no mortal man wants to marry Psyche.
Stage 2: The Call to Adventure
Psyche's call to adventure happens when her family learns the prophecy that she will marry a
monster. They place her on the mountaintop to wait for the monster, and her adventures begin.
Zephyr, the west wind, sweeps Psyche off to Cupid's mansion to be his wife. Psyche doesn't
know the identity of her husband, simply that she cannot ever look at him by light.
Stage 3: Refusal of the Call
Though it might seem like Psyche is living the good life in the lap of luxury, she's lonely. She's
beginning to have doubts about her husband, and she isn't entirely happy.
Stage 4: Meeting with the Mentor
Psyche has two mentors, but they're bad ones. Her sisters advise Psyche to spy on her husband
by lamplight to find out if he's some awful monster.
Stage 5: Crossing of the Threshold
Psyche decides to take her sisters' advice and takes a peek at her husband while he's sleeping.
This is the point of no return for our heroine. It turns out her hubby is the gorgeous god Cupid,
not a monster at all. Score! Problem is, he wakes up and catches Psyche red-handed. He's furious
at her betrayal and abandons her.
Stage 6: Tests, Allies, Enemies
Psyche wants Cupid back bad. She goes to the jealous Venus, who forces Psyche to perform all
kinds of seemingly impossible tests in order to prove herself worthy of Cupid.
Stage 7: Approach to the Inmost Cave
The last and most dangerous test Psyche must undergo is to visit Proserpine in the underworld,
get a box full of some of Proserpine's beauty, and deliver it to Venus back in the world of the
living. Psyche is sure this is the end of the line. She's preparing to kill herself in order to go to the
underworld. Thankfully, she hears a voice that tells her how to get to the underworld alive. As
it turns out, the entrance is through a cave, which is rather convenient, considering the name of
this stage.
Stage 8: Ordeal
Psyche's ordeal is traveling to the underworld, past Charon the ferryman and Cerberus the
watchdog. Finally, she meets Proserpine and makes her request.
Stage 9: Reward
Psyche succeeds in getting a box of Proserpine's beauty. Phew. Now she can return to Venus,
give her the box, and get Cupid back. Mission accomplished, right? Not quite
Stage 10: The Road Back
On the way back to the world of the living, Psyche can't resist opening the box to get a little
beauty for herself. The temptation is just too strong. When she opens the box, though, she passes
out as if dead.
Stage 11: Resurrection
Thankfully, Cupid comes to the rescue, revives his wife, and promises to make everything right.
Stage 12: Return with the Elixir
In this stage, Psyche doesn't really "return" anywhere she goes somewhere new: Mt. Olympus.
In the land of the gods, Psyche earns the ultimate reward: she's made a goddess and allowed to
live happily ever after with Cupid. They even have a daughter, who becomes the goddess of
pleasure. Doesn't get much better than that.
Cupid was the son of Venus and Mars. Venus becomes jealous of Psyche (happens a lot), so sends Cupid
to make her fall for the vilest thing on Earth. Cupid is surprised by Psyche's beauty and accidentally
pokes himself with one of his arrows, falling for her. He visits every night, telling her never to look at
him. Time passes, and Psyche's sisters ask about him, and she admits to never seeing his face. They
tease her, telling her Cupid is a monster, and she decides to wait until he sleeps and look at him. She
takes an oil lamp and looks while he sleeps, but is stunned. She falls for him, but the oil lamp has some
oil drop onto him, waking Cupid up. He sees she disobeyed and left "forever." She searches the world
for him, until Jupiter gives her immortality and she rejoins Cupid in the heavens.
Well a very interesting point is that Eros means love and Psyche means soul. So in a sense love and soul
are always together.

What is the climax of the story cupid and psyche?
when Venus gave the tasks to Psyche
What are the 7 main events of cupid and psyche?
oracle of apollo,psyche's unfaithfullness,psyche's trials,cupid found psyche

Setting in Cupid and Psyche
What is the setting of Cupid and Psyche story?
The setting is very vague. The characters do not depend on any scenery.
Um, Everywhere
Psyche's adventure takes her just about everywhere in the world of Greco-Roman mythology.
She starts at in the mortal world, then goes to live with Cupid in his magical palace, eventually
heads to the underworld, and finally ends up with the gods on Mt. Olympus.
Cupid's Palace
The first setting we spend a lot of time in is Cupid's palace, where Psyche is whisked away after
her parents abandon her on a mountaintop. At first, Psyche is blown away with all the amazing
riches in the palace. For real, this place is swank priceless art, mounds of treasure, and to top it
off there are invisible servants who give Psyche anything she wants. Eventually, however,
Psyche comes to see the palace as a beautiful prison. Sure, it's amazing and she's totally taken
care of, but without any other human contact, she ends up feeling sad and alone.
The Underworld
The other key location in the story is realm of the dead, where Venus orders Psyche to travel to
in order to bring back a box of Proserpine's (Persephone's) beauty. Traveling in this dark and
deadly land is the final and most difficult task that our heroine must complete in order to regain
her love. In this way the tale of "Cupid and Psyche" parallels many, many, many other myths.
Psyche is definitely not the only heroine (or hero) who's ever had to travel to the underworld to
fulfill their quest. Odysseus, Orpheus, Hercules and many others were said to have journeyed to
Mt. Olympus
Finally, when Psyche achieves her goal and wins back Cupid's love and trust, she gets the ultimate
reward: Cupid takes her to Mt. Olympus to become a goddess. Mt. Olympus was the home of the gods,
and pretty much the most awesome place in all of Greco-Roman mythology. We know our heroine has
achieved her "happily ever after" when she makes it here.

Who are the characters in the story of Cupid and Psyche?
Cupid is the Roman love god, son of Venus. Psyche is a human girl of unusual beauty.
Venus is jealous of her beauty and tries to make her marry an ugly old man, or in other versions, a
"fearful winged serpent".

Other characters include:
Psyche's two sisters
Psyche's father, a king
ants that help her sort the seeds
a green reed that tells her how to get golden fleece
an eagle that helps her get the water from the river Styx
a tower that gives her directions in the Underworld
Proserphine (Persephone)

Moral lesson about cupid and psyche?
Don't love someone from just on the outside, it's what's on the inside that really matters.
What is the moral of the story of Cupid and psyche?
Don't break the trust of those you love; for it is harder still to earn back.
How many child that Cupid and psyche have?
Psyche and Cupid have a daughter, called Voluptas (Hedone in Greek mythology), the goddess of
"sensual pleasures", whose Latin name means "pleasure" or "bliss".
What is the theme of the story cupid and psyche?
Love conquers all.
Love finds a way.
Love cannot dwell on suspicion. It dwells on trust.
In love, what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Love is many a splendored thing.
Love will not work without "trust"
Jealousy never wins ( Aphrodite OR Psyche's psycho sisters)

Psyche shows us perseverance and love can be more beautiful than outward appearances.

One may forgive a person they love.

Inner beauty trumps (outdo) outer beauty.

Good will win in the end.
Context of the Cupid and Psyche myth
Stories that survive the ages must matter. Find out why.
The earliest version of the story of "Cupid and Psyche" that's still around today was originally
written down by a Roman guy named Apuleius sometime during the 2nd century AD. The tale is
included in Apuleius's novel entitled The Golden Ass. (No really, that's the title.) It's about a
dude named Lucius who gets turned into a donkey (an ass) and has lots of crazy adventures.
(Well, it's about a lot more than that, really.)
What's funny is that the story of "Cupid and Psyche" is included as a digression in The Golden
Ass; it's a side story whose only purpose is to add meaning to the larger story at hand. Psyche's
struggle to be worthy of her godly lover, Cupid, is used as a metaphor for Lucius's struggle for
the divine. On that note, the story of "Cupid and Psyche" is often seen as an allegory for every
human being's struggle for love and happiness. The trials that Psyche faces represent the
hardships that all of us face in life. (Read more on this in "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory.")
Even though Apuleius's spin on the tale is the earliest one that's still extant (still around), that
doesn't mean that he was the first to write it down. There's no telling how much ancient literature
has been lost to history. Also, it's pretty clear that Apuleius didn't just make the story of "Cupid
and Psyche" up on his own. More than likely, it was a myth or folktale that had been told in
many different ways for many different years by many different people. The basic idea of the
story still pops up all over the place in lots of different forms. For example, "Beauty and the
Beast" has many similarities to the tale "Cupid and Psyche."
Cupid and Psyche Study Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - theres not just one right answer.
1. Why is Venus so jealous of Psyche? Does it make sense for the goddess of love and
beauty to be jealous? Why or why not?
2. What three tasks does Venus force Psyche to complete? How does Psyche accomplish
them? Is it fair for her to get help?
3. What does Psyche become the goddess of? Does it seem fitting?
4. If Psyche is the protagonist of this story, who would you say is the antagonist? Why do
you think so?
5. Do you think it's fair for Cupid to expect Psyche not to be curious about what he looks
like? Is it wrong for Psyche to take a peek? Why, or why not?
6. Is there a moral to this story? If so, what is it? If not, explain why you think so.
7. Compare and contrast this story to the fairytale of "Beauty and the Beast." What similar
themes, plot events, and character types are seen in each? In what ways are the tales
8. In what ways, can Psyche's struggles be seen as representing the struggles of the human
9. Compare and contrast Apuleius's version of the tale with another version like Thomas

Q. 1. Who is Psyche?
a. She's Venus' most devoted follower.
b. She's Zeus latest girlfriend.
c. She's the love of Cupid's life.
d. She's a human-eating ram.
Q. 2. Why does Venus hate Psyche?
a. Because she's so hot that she makes men forget to worship Venus.
b. Psyche trashed Venus' temple and filled it with seaweed.
c. Psyche stole Venus' magical cestus.
d. She doesn't hate Psyche.
Q. 3. What does Venus do to get revenge on Psyche?
a. She curses her with really bad B.O.
b. She turns her into a black widow spider.
c. She makes her fall in love with Cupid, who will never love her back.
d. She sends Cupid to prick Psyche with an arrow, so that she'll fall in love with a hideous monster.

Q. 4. What happens when Cupid goes to carry out Venus' orders and sees Psyche?
a. He is so taken with her beauty that he accidentally pokes himself with his arrow.
b. He spills hot oil on her and burns her.
c. He makes her fall in love with Cerberus, Hades' three-headed dog.
d. He chickens out when he sees her huge guard dogs.
Q. 5. What does the Oracle tell Psyche's parents to do?
a. The Oracle tells her parents to send her to boarding school.
b. The Oracle tells her parents to FedEx Psyche to Zeus.
c. The Oracle tells her parents to leave her on top of a mountain.
d. The Oracle tells her parents to send her to the underworld.
Q. 6. After Psyche is abandoned by her parents, who carries Psyche away to a field?
a. Cupid
b. Venus
c. Psyche's charming sisters
d. Zephyrus, the west wind
Q. 7. What do Psyche's sisters convince her to do?
a. They convince her to leave her fancy castle and her gorgeous husband and wander the world by
b. They convince her to trash Venus' temple.
c. They convince her to sneak a peek at her husband, who only comes to her at night when it is
completely dark.
d. They convince her to give them all of her riches and possessions.
Q. 8. Why does Cupid get so angry with Psyche?
a. He realizes she's only pretending to be immortal.
b. She borrows his bow and arrows.
c. She sneaks a peek at him one night.
d. She sleeps with Zeus and gives birth to the hero Perseus.
Q. 9. What happens to Psyche's sisters?
a. Cupid turns them into gorgons (monsters).
b. They fall in love with their reflections when gazing into a stream one day.
c. They jump off a mountaintop, hoping that Zephyrus will carry them away and deliver them to
handsome husbands.
d. They sacrifice five doves to Venus and vow to be her loyal followers.

Q. 10. What does Ceres advise Psyche to do?
a. She advises Psyche to move to the underworld.
b. She advises Psyche to go back to the mountaintop and build a fort.
c. She suggests that Psyche go to Venus and beg for forgiveness.
d. She suggests that Psyche become Medusa's intern.
Q. 11. What is the first task that Venus orders Psyche to do?
a. She orders Psyche to organize all the different kinds of grain in her storehouse.
b. She orders Psyche to go borrow some beauty from Proserpine (Persephone) in the underworld.
c. She orders Psyche to clean out all of the horse poop in her stables.
d. She orders Psyche to divert the Tiber River.
Q. 12. What is the second task that Venus orders Psyche to do?
a. Psyche must tame Cerberus and make him her pet.
b. Psyche must collect golden fleece from the back of every human-eating sheep in a herd that hangs
out by a river.
c. Psyche must eat a bull's heart raw.
d. Psyche must spin a bunch of straw into gold.
Q. 13. What is the third task that Venus orders Psyche to do?
a. Psyche must make a coat out of the human-eating sheep's golden fleece.
b. Psyche must retrieve Venus' missing cestus from the River Styx.
c. Psyche must bring a little bit of Proserpine's (Persephone's) beauty back from the underworld.
d. Psyche must transform herself into a laurel tree.
Q. 14. Who is Charon?
a. He is the ferryman of the underworld.
b. He is Psyche's mortal suitor.
c. He is the Oracle predicts Psyche's future.
d. He is the dog that guards the gateway to the underworld.
Q. 15. Who is Cerberus?
a. Psyche's oldest sister
b. A messenger of Zeus
c. Another name for Cupid
d. The vicious three-headed dog who guards the underworld
Q. 16. What happens when Psyche opens the box that Proserpine (Persephone) gives her?
a. She is forced to stay in the underworld forevermore.
b. She unleashes all of the evils of the world, but Hope remains in the box.
c. She falls instantly in love with Hades.
d. She's plunged into a deep sleep and collapses in the middle of the road.
Q. 17. What happens after Psyche delivers the box safely to Venus?
a. Venus turns her into a spider.
b. Zeus invites Psyche to Olympus where he makes her immortal.
c. Cupid turns her to stone.
d. Venus turns her into a goddess and blesses her marriage with Cupid.
Q. 18. What is Psyche the goddess of?
a. Curiosity
b. Cats
c. The soul
d. Persuasion