The Storyteller: Greek Myths (1990) s01e03 Episode Script

Orpheus & Euridice

Orpheus Orpheus! Orpheus! Don't go! Eurdice.
What did it say? Eurydice.
The woman Orpheus loved.
Orpheus and Eurydice two names that will always belong together.
Two people who loved each other even beyond the shadow of death itself.
Orpheus was the son of Calliope one of the nine Muses who sang to the gods on Mount Olympus.
She was the Muse of poetry and music.
And her son became the greatest musician the world had ever known.
For the sake of his music Jason took Orpheus on the quest for the Golden Fleece.
His lyre could soothe the waves themselves.
-His lyre? -This is a lyre.
The lyre of Orpheus.
Orpheus had a kingdom in Thrace, in the far north of Greece where the olive trees are bent by the wind.
When he came home from his travels, and was once again among his people he sat upon the stones at the edge of the forest and played.
It was the beginning of spring.
But there had been no rain for two months.
His people danced.
And as their bare feet hit the stones you would have said the stones were moving as the danced.
Not just the stones.
As the king played on, his music seemed to weave into the sounds of the hillside as if the birdsong, and the river fall the goats' bells, and the wind in the grasses had been brought into being by his playing.
Makes you want to move.
When Orpheus played, the whole world wanted to move.
It seemed that the roots of the trees would haul themselves up from the earth and dance to his rhythm.
His music gave them new life.
For as he played, the rain started to fall.
Children tugged at their mother's arms and whispered, "Persephone, Persephone, Persephone.
" For while the danced, the goddess who dances in the spring came among them.
His music stirred the natural world and the earth's sounds spoke to him.
One day, he was walking in the wilderness beyond the farms listening to the sound of the wind in the trees.
And then it was one sound that drew him.
It came from an alder tree.
It was the wood nymph, Eurdice.
And his music had brought her into the world of men.
I'm Orpheus.
I've sung stones to sleep.
I've made the clashing rocks move away from our ship.
I've been to the end of the world and seen things more terrible, more beautiful than I thought could be.
But you.
Listen to the silence.
Is that what you hear? Orpheus.
Say your name.
Say your name to me, and I'll pick it out of the air and I'll make a tune of it.
And I'll give it back to you more beautiful than you.
And that was how he led her back to his people.
Walking before her in the wilderness, playing as he went like a child with a new gift to show his parents.
And as he looked back at her, she smiled for happiness.
What a beautiful story.
I'm afraid it isn't over yet.
Sometimes a story doesn't end with two people falling in love.
It starts there.
So she went back into the tree? No, no, no.
They were married.
They lived together all that spring and summer.
Eurydice loved Orpheus and he loved her as if there never had been love before they met and never would be love afterwards.
Why are you looking over there? You miss the forest? No.
I'm looking towards the trees.
Sometimes, the wind moves them and I hear noises that call me.
The way you did once.
Orpheus wanted to keep her away from the untrimmed trees and the ragged depths of the forest because he knew who was there.
Who was? Centaurs, fauns, satyrs creatures given up to pleasure.
-Hairy and unpredictable.
-Like me.
Hairy, anyway.
And out there in the forest of Thrace was Aristaeus himself.
Who lopes in and out of the deepest woods.
The corn was ripe the branches were heavy with fruit.
And the men and women of that country gathered in the harvest and danced a grateful dance to the goddess Demeter.
But Eurdice was drawn to the wilderness.
Who's there? Aristaeus.
I can see you.
I'm a massive unscratchable itch.
Shake a leg.
If there was a wall I could get up against if there was a rough place I could rub up against and have a really good itch.
Can you scratch my itch? Come here.
Come on.
Yes, great.
Over here.
-Let go.
-I shan't.
-Who are you? -I'm a goat.
I'm a man.
I'm the brother of Pan.
No! Orpheus! Aristaeus meant her no harm.
But as she ran through the forest, a snake bit her heel.
Satyrs understand only pleasure.
In the face of pain, they're like children alone in the dark.
I'm a goat.
I'm a man.
It wasn't me.
Just a snake! Eurydice.
Speak to me.
Eurydice! Don't leave me! But her eyes just stared past him and her mouth gaped as wide as a grave.
He took his wife in his arms and carried her out of the forest to where his people were still dancing.
And his words chilled their hearts.
Eurydice is dead.
We will give her body to the woods laid out for harvest fires.
And when we have done with our lament I will break my lyre.
For since she is dead, there will be no more music.
Bring her back! Don't let her die.
Help me.
Please, help me.
You can do it.
Your music can do anything, can't it? Make it bring her back.
Use this to bring her back.
Please, please, you must.
You must help me.
Zeus and the immortals, hear me! I, who have calmed the seas and made rocks move with my music I will charm Death himself.
I'll go down to Hades and bring her back.
Do you hear me? I will bring her back from the arms of Death himself! So armed only with his music, Orpheus went down into the underworld.
A land from which no one has ever returned.
There is almost no sound in Hades.
They have a dog there, don't they? They have a 3-headed dog, Cerberus, if you must know.
But this isn't a story about dogs.
This is the story of Orpheus who went down into Hades itself to bring back his loved one.
He picked his way down towards the River Styx the river you must cross to reach the underworld.
And there below, he saw his wife walking towards Charon the ferryman of Hades.
One obol.
Eurydice! Don't drink.
This is the water of Lethe.
The water that makes you forget.
Everyone must drink it.
It's sweet.
Eurydice! Don't you feel all those painful things going? Going? Eurdice didn't turn as the boat drifted off through the mists.
Orpheus could only wait for the ferry to return knowing there was no other way across.
One obol.
The crossing is one obol.
No obol, no crossing.
Charon -The boat, it moved.
-I know.
The souls of the dead have no weight.
Your hands, they're warm.
-I'm alive.
Your lips, your skin.
Charon I haven't heard music for, I don't know, so long.
Doesn't it soothe you, sir? Reaching the far side of the river Orpheus stumbled on through the cold marshes with Eurdice gliding ahead of him.
Always just out of reach.
He called to her, but as he did so the mists rolled back before his eyes.
And there in front of him was Hades the King of the Underworld with Persephone, his queen, by his side.
Who comes uninvited to my kingdom? I'm Orpheus King of Thrace, son of Calliope.
And what does King Orpheus seek from Hades? The soul now before you in judgment, Eurydice, my wife.
No soul returns from my kingdom.
Love is stronger than death.
Nothing is stronger than death, little musician.
Fear me.
I am the bored audience at the theatre.
A knock at the door when you least expect it.
I am the one whose name must not be spoken for fear I hear it and sit next to you.
I am the pain in your arm at 4:00 in the morning the headache that will not shift the sour taste in your mouth of everything you ever did.
I'm waiting, little musician.
And one day, I shall come for you also.
Then you will see your wife once more.
But Orpheus would not give up Eurdice.
He played again, this time to the Queen.
He will not listen.
Or if he pretends to listen, he is lying.
And Death cheats, too.
Each year, mankind endures the winter while I stay here because he tricked me long ago.
Even Zeus was powerless to change it.
He'll trick you, too, musician.
Still Orpheus played on but the King of the Underworld was deaf to the beauty of his music.
Persephone was moved by an unbearable sadness.
Everything must die, Orpheus.
The people we love most have to die.
Even the rocks, the earth itself is eaten away by time.
Everything must die, Orpheus.
To live again.
People think of death like absence.
But absence isn't forever.
Not while there is any life left at all in the world.
It's only cold on the earth for six months.
Death is unimpressed.
Husband, I pray to you.
I am begging you, give up this soul to Orpheus.
Very well little musician.
Take your bride.
Take her to the upperworld.
But always walk ahead of her.
And do not once look back to see if she is following.
For if you turn to look at her she will be mine once more.
You hear me? Imagine the love of his life behind him, and yet he must not look at her.
With every step that he took, he listened.
But the shades of the dead make no sound.
And he could not hear her tread behind him.
He walked, grim as death itself on and on through the wastes of the underworld towards the 9-looped River Styx.
By the time he reached Charon's boat he had started to doubt that Eurydice was behind him.
Don't ask me questions and don't sing.
Don't remind me of the world.
I have my duty, that's enough.
Give me a sign.
Just breathe.
I can't hear you.
Don't look around! How he longed to.
As he started up the steep track that leads back to the world's light he kept his eyes on the ground.
He clenched his fists hard and willed himself not to think of her.
It wasn't far.
Ahead of him, he could see the daylight.
If only he could believe that she was behind him.
That silence of her death was not a real silence but had been redeemed by music.
He was almost at the entrance of the cave that leads to Hades and he could hear the birds singing outside.
And they walked out into the sunlight and were happy ever after.
They didn't.
They didn't.
It's always just when you think you have things in your grasp that you close your fingers and find they've gone.
Because when we're in love it's our hearts that guide us and betray us all the time.
Orpheus could bear it no longer.
He turned.
And her soul fled back to Hades.
He had lost Eurdice forever.
Orpheus went out alone.
He went back to the land of his people and sat like a man who was dead already.
And the women gathered around him.
The felt his pain but the begged him to play.
For his music brought rain, made crops grow.
No more music ever.
What happened? If you could have heard that sound, that hateful, ugly sound a sound that could make women barren, stop love before it started on and on day after day.
And the women came to him from the fields knowing they must end this deathly noise.
The circled around him and beat their tools on the ground.
They're really wild, those women.
What are they doing? Stop! What're they doing to him? They tore his body limb from limb.
They cast its fragments onto the river.
And his head floated out to sea to the island of Lesbos.
And his head still sang her name will always sing her name.
And some people say that the wild women were turned into trees where they stood.
That was the last time that trees had souls.
And that from that day there was nothing in oaks or limes or silver birch but woody silence.
But Orpheus' head spoke prophecies.
And the love that he'd had for Eurydice was never forgotten.
Never will be forgotten, as long as there is life.
So maybe love is stronger than death.
And we've got his lyre.
It's here.
My lyre must always play.
For without music, we're nothing.
We need the shapes out of nothing.
Tunes out of silence.
Love out of hate.
Music that lasts forever.