Apollo & Daphne
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Abbey Darmody, Dylan Hixson & Stanford McConnehey
Summary:
1. Daphne, the daughter of the river god Peneus, is a nymph who loves nature.
2. Apollo the god of music and medicine is an arrogant sportsman.
3. One day, Apollo sees Cupid playing with bows and arrows. Apollo, thinking he is all that, insults Cupid by telling
him to “leave warlike weapons for hands worthy of them.” Cupid threatens that one day his arrows will Strike
Apollo.
4. Cupid hits Apollo with an arrow of gold with a sharpened point that makes him seized with the desire for love.
5. Shortly after, Cupid strikes the nymph Daphne with a blunt-tipped arrow made of lead that makes her abhor the
thought of loving.
6. Daphne views marriage as a crime. To her father’s dismay she pleads to him, “Dearest, father grant me this favor,
that I may always remain unmarried.” Her father agrees to her request, but doubts that it will become true because
Daphne is so beautiful.
7. Apollo becomes fascinated with Daphne to a point of obsession. He marvels at her physical beauty and has an
undying lust for her.
8. Apollo details to Daphne how well suited of a bachelor he is for her. This does not affect Daphne and she walks
away leaving Apollo’s declaration unanswered. Daphne flies away and Apollo begins to chase her. The chase is
heated and very animalistic as if Apollo is a predator chasing after his prey.
9. Apollo becomes extremely frustrated and is motivated strongly by his love for Daphne. Daphne begins to fear that
Apollo may actually catch up to her.
10. In realizing Apollo is going to catch up with her if she doesn’t do something, Daphne pleas to her father saying,
“Help me! Open the earth to enclose me, or change my form, which has brought me into this danger!”
11. Immediately as she finished her request Daphne’s limbs became stiff, her hair turned into leaves, and her skin
turned to bark. Daphne’s feet became rooted into the ground as she transformed completely into a laurel tree,
looking nothing like she had before, but still equally as beautiful.
12. Apollo was amazed by Daphne’s transformation. Apollo declares his still undying love, now for the tree. He says
that he will grant the tree eternal life and use it to decorate his crown. The nymph, now tree, bowed her head in
grateful acknowledgement of this arrangement.
Significance:
• Warns of the perils of pursuit of love and the dangers of obsession
• Sets the stereotype that men should pursue women
• Concept of Cupid: We don’t choose who we love
Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne
Life Sized, Marble, Created in the time
between 1622-25
• Narrative in sculpture
Observing the sculpture from different
angles reveals the progression of the story
itself.
• Daphne’s transformation
The emotion displayed on Daphne’s face
tell of the archetype of ‘emotional women’
and the sculpture demonstrates her
despair over being overtaken by Apollo
even during her transformation
• Apollo’s femininity
Apollo is portrayed as a beautiful boy in
this story, God-like. A sense of feminine
beauty displays the androgynous ideal of
beauty at the time of sculpting and the
emotions on his face, and his hanging onto
Daphne during her transformation tell his
story of obsession.
Tip-Offs
-Cupid
-Arrows
-Love
-Unrequitted love
-Obsessive Love
-Gold vs. Lead
-Trees (Laurel)
-Man chase women
-Gods or Nymphs
Other Allusions:
Apollo Chasing Daphne (1861) by Carlo Maratta
Girl in 80’s video game “Dragon Lair” is named
Daphne
• Knight goes through many trials all in chase
of saving her from dragon
“Of Mice and Men” by Steinbeck
• Lenny has issues with obsession that ultimately
lead to him pursuing a woman to the point of
killing her
Handel’s opera “Apollo e Dafne”
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