We all have heard this famous line that “Love is blind” or even said this on seeing what we think are mismatched couples. Do you know that this is not why this expression was originally used?
The origin of this can be traced back to Greek mythology. Eros (better known by his Roman name Cupid), the Greek god of love and desire, was said to be blind. There is a very interesting story behind his blindness.
There was a woman named Psyche who was the most beautiful woman in her land. Men came to catch a glimpse of her from faraway lands and admire her beauty. The goddess of beauty and mother of Cupid, Aphrodite couldn’t tolerate this shift of attention from her to Psyche. In her jealousy, Aphrodite asked Cupid to use one of his arrows and make Psyche fall in love with ugliest man in the land.
Cupid was an obedient son and he went directly to shoot an arrow at Psyche. The moment he noticed her face, he shot the arrow on his own foot and he himself fell in love with Psyche. However, he couldn’t marry her because his mother would never allow it, since Cupid was a god and Psyche was a mortal.
Psyche’s father was worried because men would come to see Psyche but no one wanted to marry her! He went to Zeus’ temple for advice. Zeus decided to help Cupid and so he told Psyche’s father that her fate was to marry a demon. Psyche’s father would need to leave his daughter at a mountain peak on a moonless night so that the demon could take her away to his land. Psyche’s dad left her at the mountain for her destined husband to pick her up.
This decree was followed and Psyche was left atop a mountain on a dark night. She could not see anything because of the darkness and Cupid came to receive her and took her to a palace above the clouds where it was pitch dark. He kept up the demon act and set some rules for their marriage.
He said that he didn’t wish for her to see him and so he would only visit her at night and leave before sunrise. She also could not make contact with her family. His invisible servants will take care of all her needs during the day. One last rule was that if she ever tried to see Cupid’s face then he would abandon her.
And so every night he would visit her. Gentle and loving as Cupid was, Psyche could sense that her husband was no demon, but was hiding something. She also got bored in the lonely palace and so he let her call her sisters in the palace. All her sisters were jealous of Psyche but were helpful too. They advised her to hold a lamp over her husband’s face when he fell asleep at night to see how he looked. Psyche did the same thing at night and discovered that her husband was no demon but the most handsome god!
But while Psyche was looking at his face, Cupid suddenly woke up, startling Psyche. Her sudden movement caused the hot oil from the lamp to spill onto Cupid’s eyes. Angry with Psyche, Cupid left. Psyche tracked Cupid down and found out that Cupid’s mother never liked Psyche and so she went to talk with her. Aphrodite agreed to allow her to live with Cupid only if she did some tasks. So she carried out a list of arduous tasks, eventually reuniting with the blind Cupid.
So as Cupid himself found love but turned blind, he runs around hitting anyone with arrows any time and sometimes he misses the right person! Thus, we say that love is blind because the deity responsible for making people fall in love himself cannot see!
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