Read the Commentary on Chapter 16.
Investigate the images of the Death of Orpheus from the Perseus Vase Catalog.
View Waterhouse's Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus.
Read Pausanias' accounts of Orpheus.
Read Cocteau's play Orphée. Compare his treatment with the Orpheus myth. You may also wish to view Cocteau's Orpheus on video (see below) and compare it with his own stage version.
Analyze Rilke's "Orpheus, Eurydike, Hermes," a retelling of the story, but seen from the eyes of Eurydice.
What use does Tennessee Williams make of the ancient myth in his play Orpheus Descending?
Study these verses from Shakespeare (Henry VIII, Act 3, Scene 1), which so beautifully describes Orpheus' enchantment: "In sweet music is such art."
Orpheus with his lute made trees Everything
that heard him play,
And the mountain tops that freeze Even the billows of the sea,
Bow themselves, when he did sing: Hung their heads, and then lay by.
To his music plants and flowers In sweet music is such art,
Ever sprung; as sun and showers Killing care and grief
There had made a lasting spring. Fall asleep or hearing, die.
One of the most beautiful renditions of this song is by the American composer William Schuman. Listen to "Orpheus with his Lute."
For a scholarly treatment of Orphism read W. K. C. Guthrie's Orpheus and Greek Religion.
In conjunction with your research into the Orphic movement, it is worthwhile to have some familiarity with the surviving Orphic hymns. Consult M. L. West's The Orphic Poems.
Compact Discs and Videos
Out of the many operas of the eternal legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, one might begin with Gluck's melodic Orpheus and Eurydice. Performances are also on video. It is fascinating to study and compare the various treatments, beginning with that of Jacopo Peri; important are Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and Telemann's Orpheus (the latter not discovered until the 1970's and now recorded).
Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld (Orphéo aux Enfers) is an absolute delight.
The following movies are of great interest:
Black Orpheus. A retelling that illuminates the universal immortality of the legend.
The Fugitive Kind. Based on Tennessee William's play, Orpheus
Orpheus. A masterpiece, by Jean Cocteau, from his play, Orpheus.
Read the story of Aristaeus from Vergil's Georgics. What is his connection with Orpheus and Eurydice?
Explain hymeneal and the meaning of hymen.
View the constellation Cygnus.