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Walthamstow School for Girls

Y7 Latin: Greek Myths Workshop

Written by Maira Irfan 7W

On the 9th of February, we had Dr Efi Spentzou, a teacher at Royal Holloway University, to come and lead a workshop called, “Discover your voice with Eurydice” in one of our Latin lessons.

 We were tasked to read a short retelling of the ancient Roman myth of Eurydice, in which we learn about her and her husband (Orpheus, a famed poet and musician) and how when the two newlyweds were separated from each other, Eurydice gets killed by a snake in a garden. The story continues with Orpheus’ mourning cries alerting even the heavens and underworld, due to its raucousness, and him managing to gain the pity of, as well as move, Hades and Persephone with his lyre playing; Orpheus is then permitted to return to the land of the living, accompanied by Eurydice, given that he doesn’t turn to look back at her on the way there. The condition was accepted; however, in a moment of uncertainty of whether to trust that his wife was still following along, Orpheus goes back on his word and checks to see her, which causes her to disappear with only enough time for a faint farewell to pass through Eurydice’s lips.

 We were also made to consider the viewpoints of Orpheus and Eurydice and how they could be feeling at certain points in the story: would Eurydice be angry at having her second chance at life being stripped away from her? Could Orpheus be called selfish for not thinking about the consequences of his actions? Perhaps Eurydice did not want to go back with her husband as she found comfort in being in the underworld where she could be with relatives who had already passed, which was why she did not make an effort to indicate her presence behind Orpheus.

 Overall, throughout the lesson we had to think about the significance of empathy as well as the importance of people’s thoughts and ideas being heard and the impact it can have on them. Additionally, we would try to infer and find more context within the story in order to better understand it.