Summary Orpheus

Summary Orpheus

Jean Cocteau
Orpheus
The action takes place in the living room of the country villa Orpheus and Eurydice, reminiscent of the illusionist’s salon; despite the April sky and bright lighting, it becomes obvious to the audience that the room is in the power of mysterious charms, so that even the usual objects in it look suspicious. In the middle of the room is a paddock with a white horse.
Orpheus stands at the table and works with the spiritual alphabet. Eurydice stoically expects when her husband will end communication with the spirits by means of a horse that answers the questions of Orpheus with knocks that help him to know the truth. He refused to write poems and glorify the sun god to obtain some poetic crystals, enclosed in the white horse’s utterances, and thanks to this, at one time became famous throughout Greece.
Euridice reminds Orpheus of Aglaonis, the leader of the Bacchantes (before their marriage, Eurydice herself), who also has the habit of practicing spiritism, Orpheus harbors an extreme dislike of Aglaonis, who drinks, confuses married women and prevents young girls from marrying. Aglaonis opposed the fact that Eurydice left the circle of Bacchantes and became the wife of Orpheus. She promised one day to take revenge on him for taking Eurydice away from her. Eurydice is not the first time begging Orpheus to return to his previous lifestyle, which he led until the moment he did not meet with the horse and put it in his house.

/> Orpheus disagrees with Eurydice and, in proving the importance of his studies, quotes a phrase recently dictated to him by a horse: “Madame Eurydice will return from hell,” which he regards as the top of poetic perfection and intends to submit to a poetic contest. Orpheus is convinced that this phrase will have the effect of a bomb exploding. He is not afraid of Aglounisy’s rivalry, also taking part in a poetic contest and hating Orpheus, and therefore capable of any vile trick on him. During the conversation with Eurydice, Orpheus falls into extreme irritability and punches the table, which Eurydice notes that anger is not an excuse to destroy everything around. Orpheus tells his wife that he does not react in any way to the fact that she regularly hits the window panes, although she knows perfectly well what she is doing, so that Ortebiz, the glazier, would come to her. Eurydice asks her husband not to be so jealous that he personally breaks one of the windows in a similar way, as if proving that he is far from jealousy and without a shadow of a doubt gives Eurydice an opportunity to meet with Ortebiz once more, after which he leaves to apply for a contest.
Left alone with Eurydice, who came to her at the call of Orpheus, Ortebiz expresses her regret over her husband’s unrestrained behavior and reports that Eurydice brought, as was agreed, a poisoned piece of sugar for the horse, whose presence in the house radically changed the nature of the relationship between Eurydice and Orpheus. Sugar passed through AglĂ©oniz Aglounis, in addition to the poison for the horse sent and an envelope, in which Eurydice should enclose a message addressed to her ex-girlfriend. Eurydice does not dare to feed the horse herself with a poisoned piece of sugar and asks to do it Ortebiz, but from his hands the horse refuses. Eurydice, meanwhile, sees through the window of the returning Orpheus, Ortebiz throws sugar on the table and stands on a chair in front of the window, pretending to measure the frame. Orpheus, as it turns out, returned home because he forgot his birth certificate: He takes a chair from under Ortebiz and stands on it, looking for the document he needs on the top shelf of the bookcase. At that time Ortebiz is hanging in the air without any support. Finding evidence, Orpheus re-seats a chair under the feet of Ortebiz and, as if nothing had happened, leaves the house. After his departure, the astonished Eurydice asks Ortebiz to explain to her what happened and demands from him that he reveal to him his true nature. She declares that she does not believe him anymore, and leaves to her room, then she puts an earlier prepared letter for her in the Aglouniona envelope, licks the edge of the envelope to seal it, but the glue turns poisonous, and Eurydice, feeling the approach of death, calls Ortebiza and asks him to find and lead Orpheus to have time to see his husband before he dies. looking for the document he needs on the top shelf of the bookcase. At that time Ortebiz is hanging in the air without any support. Finding evidence, Orpheus re-seats a chair under the feet of Ortebiz and, as if nothing had happened, leaves the house. After his departure, the astonished Eurydice asks Ortebiz to explain to her what happened and demands from him that he reveal to him his true nature. She declares that she does not believe him anymore, and leaves to her room, then she puts an earlier prepared letter for her in the Aglouniona envelope, licks the edge of the envelope to seal it, but the glue turns poisonous, and Eurydice, feeling the approach of death, calls Ortebiza and asks him to find and lead Orpheus to have time to see his husband before he dies. looking for the document he needs on the top shelf of the bookcase. At that time Ortebiz is hanging in the air without any support. Finding evidence, Orpheus re-seats a chair under the feet of Ortebiz and, as if nothing had happened, leaves the house. After his departure, the astonished Eurydice asks Ortebiz to explain to her what happened and demands from him that he reveal to him his true nature. She declares that she does not believe him anymore, and leaves to her room, then she puts an earlier prepared letter for her in the Aglouniona envelope, licks the edge of the envelope to seal it, but the glue turns poisonous, and Eurydice, feeling the approach of death, calls Ortebiza and asks him to find and lead Orpheus to have time to see his husband before he dies. Orpheus re-seats a chair under the feet of Ortebiz and, as if nothing had happened, leaves the house. After his departure, the astonished Eurydice asks Ortebiz to explain to her what happened and demands from him that he reveal to him his true nature. She declares that she does not believe him anymore, and leaves to her room, then she puts an earlier prepared letter for her in the Aglouniona envelope, licks the edge of the envelope to seal it, but the glue turns poisonous, and Eurydice, feeling the approach of death, calls Ortebiza and asks him to find and lead Orpheus to have time to see his husband before he dies. Orpheus re-seats a chair under the feet of Ortebiz and, as if nothing had happened, leaves the house. After his departure, the astonished Eurydice asks Ortebiz to explain to her what happened and demands from him that he reveal to him his true nature. She declares that she does not believe him anymore, and leaves to her room, then she puts an earlier prepared letter for her in the Aglouniona envelope, licks the edge of the envelope to seal it, but the glue turns poisonous, and Eurydice, feeling the approach of death, calls Ortebiza and asks him to find and lead Orpheus to have time to see his husband before he dies.
After Ortebiz’s departure, Death appears on the stage in a pink ball dress with two of her assistants, Azrael and Raphael. Both assistants are dressed in surgical gowns, masks and rubber gloves. Death, like them, also puts on a robe over a ball gown and puts on gloves. On her instructions, Raphael takes sugar from the table and tries to feed his horses, but nothing comes out of it. Death brings things to an end, and the horse, having moved to another world, disappears; Eurydice also disappears, transferred by Death and her assistants to another world through a mirror. Orpheus, who returned home with Ortebiz, no longer finds Eurydice alive. He is ready for anything, only to return his beloved wife from the realm of shadows. Ortebiz helps him, pointing out that Death has forgotten rubber gloves on the table and will fulfill any desire of the one who will return it to her.
While Euridice and Orpheus are not at home, the postman is knocking at the door, and since no one opens it to him, he pushes a letter under the door. Soon a happy Orpheus comes out of the mirror and thanks Ortebiz for the advice he has given. After that, Eurydice appears from there. The prediction of the horse – “Madame Eurydice will return from hell” – will come true, but on one condition: Orpheus has no right to turn around and look at Eurydice. In this circumstance, Eurydice sees the positive side: Orpheus will never see how she grows old. All three sit down to dinner. At dinner between Eurydice and Orpheus, a dispute erupts. Orpheus wants to get out of the table, but stumbles and looks back at his wife; Eurydice disappears. Orpheus can not in any way realize the irreparability of his loss. Looking around, he sees an anonymous letter on the floor near the door, brought in his absence by the postman. The letter says that under the influence of Aglaonis, the jury of the competition saw in the abbreviation of the phrase Orpheus, sent to the contest, an indecent word, and now raised by Aglaonis, a good half of all the women of the city go to the house of Orpheus, demanding his death and preparing to tear him to pieces. A beating of the drums of the approaching Bacchantes is heard: Aglaonis waited an hour of revenge. Women throw stones at the window, the window is broken. Orpheus hanging from the balcony in the hope of appeasing the warriors. The next moment Orpheus’ head, already detached from the body, flies into the room. From the mirror appears Eurydice and leads behind him in the mirror the invisible body of Orpheus. and now raised by Aglaonis, a good half of all the women of the city go to the house of Orpheus, demanding his death and preparing to tear him to pieces. A beating of the drums of the approaching Bacchantes is heard: Aglaonis waited an hour of revenge. Women throw stones at the window, the window is broken. Orpheus hanging from the balcony in the hope of appeasing the warriors. The next moment Orpheus’ head, already detached from the body, flies into the room. From the mirror appears Eurydice and leads behind him in the mirror the invisible body of Orpheus. and now raised by Aglaonis, a good half of all the women of the city go to the house of Orpheus, demanding his death and preparing to tear him to pieces. A beating of the drums of the approaching Bacchantes is heard: Aglaonis waited an hour of revenge. Women throw stones at the window, the window is broken. Orpheus hanging from the balcony in the hope of appeasing the warriors. The next moment Orpheus’ head, already detached from the body, flies into the room. From the mirror appears Eurydice and leads behind him in the mirror the invisible body of Orpheus.
The living room includes a police commissioner and a court clerk. They demand to explain what happened here and where the body of the murdered. Ortebiz informs them that the body of the murdered man was torn to pieces and there was not a trace left of him. The Commissioner also claims that the Bacchantes saw Orpheus on the balcony, he was covered in blood and called for help. According to them, they would have helped him, but he had already fallen from the balcony before their eyes, and they could not prevent the tragedy. The servants of the law inform Ortebiz that now the entire city is agitated by a mysterious crime, all are mourning for Orpheus and asking for some bust of the poet for his glorification. Ortebiz indicates the commissar on the head of Orpheus and assures him that this is the bust of Orpheus’ hand of an unknown sculptor. The commissioner and the court secretary ask Ortebiz who he is and where he lives. For him answers the head of Orpheus, and Ortebiz disappears in the mirror after Evridika calls him. Surprised by the disappearance of the interrogated commissioner and the court clerk leave.
The scenery rises, Eurydice and Orpheus come out onto the stage through a mirror; they are led by Ortebiz. They are going to sit down at the table and finally have dinner, but first they say a thankful prayer to the Lord, who determined their home, their hearth as their only paradise, and revealed to them the gates of this paradise; because the Lord sent them Ortebiz, their guardian angel, because he saved Eurydice, who killed the devil in the guise of a horse, and saved Orpheus, because Orpheus adores poetry, and poetry is God.