The Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice returns with dramatic relevance in the lives of refugees gripped in the bitter cold of a Serbian winter.
In the story, Orpheus of Thrace plays his lyre so beautifully that his music not only enchants humans but also plants and animals. When his wife Eurydice dies, he asks Hades, the lord of the underworld, to grant him the grace to bring her out of the eternal night. The sound of his music, which overwhelmed even the singing of the Sirens during the adventure of the Argonauts, persuaded the dark prince to grant his request, with one simple condition: Orpheus was not to look upon Eurydice before his ascent from the underworld was complete.
We know how it ends: Orpheus turned around, and his sweetheart was cast forever back into Erebus. Why did Orpheus turn, condemning Eurydice? Perhaps because, the ancients tell us, he at some point acquired the dramatic knowledge that he was resurrecting a dead woman, who would also remember the eternal darkness and that this, to Orpheus, singer of life, was unbearable. Or — and this doesn’t change the meaning — this was just another challenge to see if even death could be bent to his will. The salvation of Eurydice didn’t matter.