Narcisus and echo by Elvin Calimag
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Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narcisus and echo by Elvin Calimag
Echo and Narcissus
is an episode from Ovid's Metamorphoses,
a Latin Mythological epic
from Augustan period
The myth of the mountain nymph Echo into the
story of Narcissus, the beautiful youth who
rejected sexuality and falls in love with his own
reflection, appears to have been Ovid's
Ovid's version influenced the presentation of the
myth in later Western art and Literature.
The story is told in Book III of
the Metamorphoses, and tells the story of a
"talkative nymph" who is admired by the
goddess Aphrodite for her magnificent voice and
When she tricks Zeus's jealous wife, Hera, Hera
curses her by making her only able to repeat the
last words said, and couldn't say anything on her
own. "Yet a chatterbox, had no other use of
speech than she has now, that she could repeat
only the last words out of many." This is the
explanation of the aural effect.
Ovid presents the tales with a freshness and
originality that made them uniquely his own.
His writing is vivid, elegant, and succinct, with
the stories—including "Narcissus and Echo"—
generally moving swiftly from beginning to
end without tedious digressions or inflated
Metamorphoses became one of the best read
books of the Renaissance, influencing
Shakespeare and other prominent writers.
The themes and motifs are as timely today as
Written in heroic hexameter, the dignified
verse format of ancient epic poetry.
Heroic hexameter- consists of unrhymed lines
that each contain six feet. Each foot is either
a dactyl or a spondee.
Ovid chose dactyls more often than
spondees so that the narrative moves along
Narcissus: Proud youth who rejects the
attentions of maidens.
Echo: Mountain nymph who falls in love with
Rhamnusia: Goddess of vengeance, Nemesis.
Liriope: Mother of Narcissus. She is a water
nymph often referred to as a Nereid because she
is one of the daughter of a sea god, Nereus.
The action is set in or near the ancient
Greek city of Thespiae in the republic of
Boeotia, north of Attica.
Cephisus: Father of Narcissus. He is a river
Tiresias: Blind soothsayer.
Jupiter: King of the gods. His Greek name is
Juno: Queen of the gods. Her Greek name is
Dryads: Tree-dwelling nymphs who mourn
the death of Narcissus.
Naiads: Nymphs dwelling in lakes, rivers,
and springs. They mourn the death of
Echo and Narcissus
Echo was a beautiful nymph, fond of the
woods and hills, where she devoted herself to
woodland sports. She was a favourite of Diana,
and attended her in the chase. But Echo had
one failing; she was fond of talking, and
whether in chat or argument, would have the
One day Juno was seeking her husband,
who, she had reason to fear, was amusing
himself among the nymphs. Echo by her talk
contrived to detain the goddess till the nymphs
made their escape.
This nymph saw Narcissus, a beautiful youth,
as he pursued the chase upon the mountains. She
loved him and followed his footsteps. She waited
with impatience for him to speak first, and had her
answer ready. But it was all in vain. Narcissus left
her, and Echo went to hide her blushes in the
recesses of the woods.
From that time forth she lived in caves and
among mountain cliffs. Her form faded with grief,
till at last all her flesh shrank away. Her bones were
changed into rocks and there was nothing left of
her but her voice. With that she is still ready to
reply by anyone who calls her, and keeps up her old
habit of having the last word.
Narcissus’s cruelty in this case was not the
only instance. He shunned all the rest of the
nymphs, as he had done poor Echo. One day a
maiden who had in vain prayed that he might
some time or other feel what it was to love and
meet no return of affection. The avenging goddess
heard and granted the prayer.
There was clear fountain, with water like
silver, to which the shepherds never drove their
flocks, nor the mountain goats resorted but the
grass grew fresh around it and He stooped down
to drink, and saw his own image in the water; he
thought it was some beautiful water-spirit living in
He fell in love with himself. He could not
tear himself away; he lost all
Thought of food or rest, while he hovered over
the brink of the fountain gazing
Upon his own image.
His tears fell into the water and disturbed
the image. As he saw it depart,
He exclaimed, “ Stay, I entreat you! Let me at least
gaze upon you, if I may not touch
She kept near him, however, and when he
exclaimed, “Alas! Alas!” she answered him with
the same words. He pined away and died; and
when his shade passed the Stygian river, it leaned
over the boat to catch a look of itself in the waters.
The nymphs mourned for him, especially the
water-nymphs; and when they smote their breasts
Echo smote hers also.
They prepared a funeral pile and would have
burned the body, it was no where to be found; but
in its place a flower, purple within, and surrounded
with White leaves, which bears the name and
preserves the memory of Narcissus.
1. What is Echo’s biggest problem
at the beginning of the myth?
2. How does Hera punish her?
3. What is an Echo?
4. What happens to Echo after
Narcissus rejects her?
5. Describe Narcissus.
6. What happened to him?
7. Both Echo and Narcissus die
8. The subject of this myth is the
1. Have you ever wanted something
you couldn’t have? What was it?
How did it make you feel to be
unable to obtain it?
2. If you were in the situation of
Echo, would you still continue to
love Narcissus in spite of being
rejected? Do you feel her actions
3.What does the story of Echo and
Narcissus suggest about the
relationship between pride and
obsessed desire in a real life
4.What is the message of the story
of echo and Narcissus and how
could we relate it in our lives?
“You shall forfeit the use of that
tongue with which you have
cheated me, except for that one
purpose you are so fond of –
GROUP 1 – Mythology and Folklore
Vivialyn Binalay – Background
Rica Aquino – Summary
Jennifer Macapulay– Discussion Q’s
Sheryl Calandoy - Connection Q’s
Rowell Jay Soliven - Passage Analysis
Cherimay Guillermo -- Interpretation