|Till We Have Faces
|C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis, acclaimed author of “The Chronicles of Narnia”, also shone in another notable work: “Till We Have Faces”.
This often overlooked book is an insightful and deeply emotional retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche.
In this article, we will explore the synopsis, the author, a summary of the story, a review, key lessons, positives and negatives, and the relevance of reading. Read other book summaries here!
Sinopsis of Till We Have Faces
“Till We Have Faces” is a reinterpretation of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche.
In the story, the beautiful Psyche is offered as a sacrifice to the unseen god of Mt. Orual, believing that Psyche was handed over to a monster, decides to rescue her, starting a series of events that will lead to spiritual maturation and self-understanding.
Published in 1956, the book is told from the perspective of Orual, the ugly and embittered sister of Psyche. You can buy ‘Till we Have Faces here!
Who is C.S. Lewis?
Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963), better known as C. S. Lewis, was one of the most influential intellectuals of the 20th century.
Known for his work in Christian literature and apologetics, Lewis taught Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Oxford and Cambridge. Although “The Chronicles of Narnia” is his most famous work, Lewis also wrote several other books, including “Till We Have Faces”.
This work is considered by many to be his most mature and sophisticated literary achievement. Read a summary about Lewis’ book On Stories.
Summary of Till We Have Faces
Orual, the narrator and protagonist of “Till We Have Faces”, is the eldest daughter of the King of Glome, a city-state in a pre-Christian world similar to Ancient Greece.
Throughout the book, Orual struggles with belief in gods that seem indifferent and cruel. When her beloved sister Psyche is sacrificed to the god of the Mount, Orual, convinced that Psyche is either dead or prey to a monster, sets out to save her, only to discover that Psyche is living happily as the god’s wife. Unable to see the god, Orual forces Psyche to disobey him, causing Psyche’s downfall.
Plagued by guilt, Orual spends her life searching for redemption and understanding, finally finding both when facing the gods. You can buy ‘Till we Have Faces here!
Review of Till We Have Faces
“Till We Have Faces” is an example of sublime storytelling.
C. S. Lewis presents a complex and multifaceted character in Orual, whose journey of self-discovery is both moving and profound. The prose is rich and evocative, with a meticulous attention to detail that brings the world of Glome to life. It is worth checking!
Lewis’ interpretation of the myth of Cupid and Psyche not only honors the original tradition, but expands on it in innovative and meaningful ways.
The book is a sophisticated exploration of faith, love, jealousy and self-understanding. Read a summary about The Abolition of Man clicking here!
9 Key Lessons from Till We Have Faces
See some of the main lessons about the book.
1. Self-knowledge is essential for maturity.
2. Love can be warped by jealousy and possessiveness.
3. Faith demands a surrender beyond what we can see or understand.
4. Suffering is an inherent part of the human experience.
5. The truth is more complex than the individual perspective.
6. Redemption is possible, even after serious mistakes.
7. Beauty can be found even in situations of pain and suffering.
8. The search for truth can be a long and painful journey.
9. Life is a journey of transformation and growth.
The Myth of Cupid and Psyche
C. S. Lewis’s book is based on the myth of Cupid and Psyche, well known in Roman mythology.
Psyche, a mortal of stunning beauty, draws the wrath of Venus. Cupid, son of Venus, accidentally falls in love with Psyche, but leaves her when she disobeys his only rule. To win Cupid back, Psyche overcomes trials imposed by Venus, achieves immortality and both live together forever.
The myth of Cupid and Psyche is one of the most enchanting stories in Roman mythology. The story symbolizes the journey of human love, with its trials, sacrifices and eventual fulfillment. Read a summary on The Four Loves (C S Lewis) here.
Negatives Points of Till We Have Faces
Indeed, the work has a dark and serious tone that may be difficult for some readers.
To some readers, Lewis’s prose can seem dense and his writing style can be challenging. The story also requires the reader to get deeply involved with the themes and characters, which may not please everyone.
But that’s no reason to stop reading. On the contrary, the challenge is worth it!
Positive Points of Till We Have Faces
“Till We Have Faces” is a literary work of deep meaning and beauty.
Lewis’s prose is masterful, and his interpretation of the myth of Cupid and Psyche is innovative and moving. The story is complex, with well-developed characters and a plot that keeps the reader engaged from start to finish.
The book is also a profound reflection on universal themes such as love, faith, suffering and redemption. Read a summary about A Grief Observed here.
Is it worth reading Till We Have Faces?
This is a thought-provoking work that will continue to resonate long after the last page has been turned.
Without a doubt, “Till We Have Faces” is a worthwhile read. Despite its possible difficulties, the payoff is a rich and profound story that speaks to the human heart. If you like mythology, philosophy, religion or simply a good story, this book is for you.
Additionally, for those interested in the work of C. S. Lewis, this book offers a unique insight into his thoughts and literary abilities. You can buy ‘Till we Have Faces here!
Questions about Till We Have Faces
See some of the questions people ask about the book.
What does the myth of Eros and Psyche mean?
It represents the journey of love, with challenges, sacrifices, trials and eventual fulfillment.
Who was Cupid’s lover?
It was Psyche, a mortal of extraordinary beauty.
What is the moral of the story of Eros and Psyche?
Trust and true love overcome the hardest trials.
Who married Psyche?
Eros, the god of love, married Psyche.
How does Eros fall in love with Psyche?
Upon seeing Psyche, Eros, enchanted by her beauty, accidentally injures himself with his own arrow, falling in love with her.
What did Aphrodite do with Psyche?
Aphrodite, jealous of Psyche’s beauty, imposed impossible tasks on her as punishment.
Who is Cupid’s girlfriend?
Cupid’s girlfriend is Psyche.
Why couldn’t Psyche see Eros?
Because Eros, fearful that his divine aspect would frighten or harm Psyche, insisted that he remain in the dark.
Who was Aphrodite jealous of?
Aphrodite was jealous of Psyche due to her exceptional beauty.
How did Eros die?
In Greek mythology, Eros is a god and therefore immortal.
Who was Eros for Freud?
For Freud, Eros is the life force, the sexual and loving impulse, as opposed to Thanatos, the death impulse.
What is the best couple in Greek mythology?
There are many notable couples, but Eros and Psyche are often cited for their emblematic love story.
What is the name of Eros and Psyche’s daughter?
Their daughter’s name is Hedonê, which means pleasure.
What is the name of the Cupid of love?
It’s Eros in Greek mythology.
Who was the goddess of madness?
Lyssa is the goddess of fury, madness and rage in Greek mythology.
Why didn’t Eros want Psyche to see his face?
Eros feared that his divine appearance might frighten or harm Psyche.
What is the relationship between the myth of Psyche and Eros and psychiatry?
The word “psychiatry” derives from “Psyche”, representing the healing of the soul, similarly to the myth, which involves emotional healing and growth.
Who did Aphrodite love the most?
Aphrodite loved many, but her most notable crush was on Ares, the god of war.
What is Aphrodite’s weakness?
Vanity and love are often seen as Aphrodite’s weaknesses.
Who did Aphrodite like?
Aphrodite was especially fond of Ares, the god of war.
Whose son is Cupid?
Cupid is the son of Aphrodite and, in some versions, of Ares.
Why did Apollo fall in love?
Apollo fell in love many times, usually because of Eros’ arrows.
How to summon Cupid?
In the romantic tradition, Cupid is often invoked through prayers or love rituals.
Who is Psyche’s father?
Psyche’s father was a mortal king, whose name is not mentioned in myths.
What were Psyche’s four tasks?
Psyche had to sort out mixed grain, get wool from golden sheep, collect water from the River Styx, and fetch a box of beauty from the underworld.
How many sisters did Psyche have?
Psyche had two sisters.
What does Aphrodite smell like?
Aphrodite is associated with many scents, but roses are often associated with her.
Who rejected Aphrodite?
Hippo, one of the ancient Greek gods, rejected Aphrodite for valuing her virginity.
How many boyfriends did Aphrodite have?
Aphrodite had several lovers, including Ares, Adonis, and Anchises.
What is the difference between Eros and Aphrodite?
Eros is the god of erotic love, while Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty and fertility.
What is Eros and Thanatos?
For Freud, Eros represents the life and love instinct, while Thanatos represents the death instinct.
Who killed Thanatos?
In Greek mythology, Thanatos, as the god of death, is immortal.
Who is Thanatos?
Thanatos is the god personification of death in Greek mythology.
Who is the most handsome man in Greek mythology?
Adonis is often cited as the most beautiful in Greek mythology.
Who is the strongest Greek goddess?
Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, and Hera, the queen of the gods, are often seen as the strongest.
Who is the smartest Greek goddess?
Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom and is often considered the smartest.
How many children does Hades have?
Hades has few children, including Macaria, Zagreus and Melinoe.
What does the term psyche mean?
“Psyche” is a Greek word meaning “soul” or “spirit”.
What is Cupid slang?
“Cupid” as a slang term refers to someone who tries to promote love or romance between two people.
What does Cupid mean in relationship?
Cupid symbolizes love and desire, therefore in a relationship it refers to passionate love.
What is the goddess of laziness?
Acedia, a term from early Christianity, represents spiritual laziness, but there is no corresponding Greek goddess.
Who is the goddess of chaos?
Eris is the Greek goddess of chaos and discord.
Who is the goddess of sadness?
In Greek mythology, the goddess who personifies sadness and mourning is called Mélinoe.
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