Dissertation Title:

Eurydice’s Bones: The Contemporary Female Archaic Imagination


Emily Miller

Date, Time & Place:

November 2, 2022 at 10:30 am
in the Studio Classroom at the Lambert Campus


This theoretical dissertation imagines Eurydice as an inherent archetype and root metaphor for extraordinary creative liminality that flows through the contemporary female archaic imagination. Eurydice’s name means wide ruling Justice. She is the prototype of Dike, one of the Horea, born to Themis and Zeus. Dike stood for the All Way, The Way, The Truth, and The Light. As Dike’s prototype, Eurydice is a mythical goddess and archetype present in the underworld before the cloaking of the myth in the traditional romantic versions during the creation of the Classics by male authors.

There is a profound ripening of the human experience by understanding Eurydice’s depth and archetypal aspects. In this research, depth and archetypal lenses demonstrate that Eurydice’s image is refigured as the individual connects with the larger collective consciousness by utilizing the scholarship of Jane Ellen Harrison, Gaston Bachelard, Sigmund Freud, C.G. Jung, James Hillman, Evans Lansing Smith, and Christine Downing.

Rainer Maria Rilke is the first poet to personify Eurydice in the 20th century with an omniscient voice in Orpheus. Eurydice, Hermes. H.D. is the first woman to give Eurydice voice and vision through her narrative early poem “Eurydice”. Sue Hubbard’s poem “Eurydice” manifest the collective conscious factors of the Eurydice archetype. These three poets expose Eurydice as a domain and intersection of inner and outer experiences where the forces of life act upon us psychically, physically, metaphorically, and spiritually. Eurydice’s reemergence in the last hundred years expresses a refusal to be exiled in silence. As the archetype for underworld processes, Eurydice allows women to express their marginalized stories and experiences, transforming and transmuting the myth forward.

The re-emergence of Eurydice’s archetype has positive implications socio-politically, symbolically, and eco-psychologically. She is a rich and expansive presencing of liminality. Eurydice is a Sophia figure to a modern world in need of healing.

  • Program/Track/Year: Mythological Studies, I, 2016
  • Chair: Dr. Evans Lansing Smith
  • Reader: Dr. Lori Pye
  • External Reader: Dr. Lydia Reineck
  • Keywords: Archaic, Archetype, Necrotype, Root Metaphor, Symbol, Underworld