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SPOILER question about the Princess's motivation at the end


At the end, the Princess has Heurtebise take Orpheus back in time so that Orpheus never meets death. This means Orpheus and Death don't fall in love; Orpheus lives more or less happily ever after with Eurydice. (As side sacrifice is Heurtebise losing Eurydice, too, but he follows his orders.)

I missed entirely any motivation for this. It seems against Death's character for her to make a sacrifice. Any thoughts on why the Princess made this magnanimous, selfless gesture? Did Cocteau just leave that part out?


Maybe she realized that though he and she were in love, he also was happy with his wife. Perhaps she felt, oh, what the hell, let them live out their little lives together. After all - she (death) will get him in the end! What's a few years to Ms. Death? She can be magnanimous and wait.


"A poet's Death must sacrifice herself to make him immortal."

If she has only known being Death, perhaps she loved the poet so much, it was worth her sacrifice to make him immortal. The act of making the poet immortal was "God-like," so it appeased her ego as well. Then she paid for her arrogance against the gods (acting without orders again) with her own sacrifice. Going to Hades.

Just my guess. Maybe it's explained in the original myth of Orpheus. I couldn't find it by searching the net.


I saw the BFI dvd and the line was translated as a poet's immortality requires death's immolation.

To me this meant a selfless sacrifice on the part of death because she was choosing immolation. The 'poet's immortality' resided in his words, not his being. So she returns Orpheus to life to continue writing and produce the words that will grant him immortality.

Keep silent unless what you are going to say is more important than silence.