"The tale of Cupid and Psyches" and "Till we Have Faces": the attainment of self-worth via femininity and masculinity.
Portillo Sánchez, Emelyn Gabriela
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The Apuleian myth of Cupid and Psyche has long been a source of inspiration in art and literature. This motivation might be derived either from its spiritual and philosophical wisdom or from the love of mythology; being the virtuoso work of Lewis, Till We Have Faces , a composition that introduces all these elements. As a result of their remarkable complexity, both narratives also offer an insight into the human psyche, where symbology varies along with the reader’s interpretation. Consequently, it is the vast interpretative possibilities they offer that incite me to carry out an analysis focused on the concepts of masculinity and femininity. More specifically, I aim at examining the source from which feminine and masculine characters attain a sense of self-worth as well as validity in the traditional culture in which they live; being both societies based on male prerogatives. For this purpose, I will concentrate on two major elements, firstly, on the cultural construction of masculine values based on domination, masculine privileges as well as the devaluing of feminine attributes; and the representation of women via properties deemed weak and disposable. From the obtained conclusion, I might suggest that, on the one hand, epic masculinities resort to the domination and degradation of femininity as well as of inferior masculinities in order to legitimise their appropriateness. Secondly, the worth of femininity stems from fulfilling their role as wives as well as child-bearers assuming a pliant attitude. Thirdly, the rejection of masculine or feminine values engenders a wound which incapacitates masculine characters emotionally and prevents femininity from active development. Therefore, I conclude that authentic worth stems from embracing both feminine values along with masculine strength; being this achieved through bridging power and love so as to attain self-acceptance.