Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Greek Myth of the Month: ECHO


Echo is one of my favorite characters in greek mythology. Few people know how the myth of Echo came about. Needless to say, I find her "fate" fascinating and sorta horrifying too.

"echo is a beautiful nymph, fond of woods and sports, and a favorite of diana. she is, however, inclined to ceaseless chatter and always seeks to have the last word in any exchange. zeus has echo detain his wife hera in ceaseless small talk, while he adulterously cavorts with nymphs. when hera discovered the trickery she punished the talkative echo by taking away her voice, except in foolish repetition of another's shouted words. thus, all echo could do was repeat the voice of another."

As usual, Hera is behind all of this.  Poor Echo!

But wait there's more:

Echo is eternally associated with the more famous Narcissus. Their story is, as always in Greek mythology, a tragedy:

"echo fell in love with a vain youth named narcissus. one day when narcissus was out hunting stags, echo stealthily followed the handsome youth through the woods, longing to address him but unable to speak first. when narcissus finally heard footsteps and shouted "who's there?", echo answered "who's there?" and so it went, until finally echo showed herself and rushed to embrace the lovely youth. he pulled away from the nymph and vainly told her to leave him alone. narcissus left echo heartbroken, and she spent the rest of her life in lonely glens pining away for the love she never knew, crying until all that was left was her voice. however, in other versions echo cries until she is stone and an invisible echo (probably her ghost/spirit) haunts the earth." source wikipedia

I was watching THE ADVENTURES OF HERCULES with Lou Ferrigno the other day on PEPLUM TV and they referenced Echo at one point, one of the few movies to have actually mentioned this fascinating mythological character.

The only know ancient rendering of the nymph echo on a greek vase

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