Melpomene

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Roman statue of Melpomene, 2nd century AD. The muse is shown in a long-sleeved garment with a high belt, clothing that was associated with tragic actors. Her wreath of vines and grapes alludes to Dionysus, the god of the theatre.

Melpomene (/mɛlˈpɒmɨn/; Greek: Μελπομένη; "to sing" or "the one that is melodious"), initially the Muse of Singing, she then became the Muse of Tragedy, for which she is best known now. [1]Her name was derived from the Greek verb melpô or melpomai meaning "to celebrate with dance and song." She is often represented with a tragic mask and wearing the cothurnus, boots traditionally worn by tragic actors. Often, she also holds a knife or club in one hand and the tragic mask in the other.

Melpomene is the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Her sisters include Calliope (muse of epic poetry), Clio (muse of history), Euterpe (muse of lyrical poetry), Terpsichore (muse of dancing), Erato (muse of erotic poetry), Thalia (muse of comedy), Polyhymnia (muse of hymns), and Urania (muse of astronomy).

In Roman and Greek poetry, it was traditional[citation needed] to invoke the goddess Melpomene so that one might create beautiful lyrical phrases (see Horace's Odes).

Popular Culture[edit]

Referred to in HBO's "Deadwood" during a scene when two actors converse, at the time of death.

Singer Harry Styles, of the band One Direction, has a tattoo of "the classic drama and comedy theater masks on the left side of his ribcage. The images of the masks come from the comic and tragic muses, Melpomene and Thalia, in ancient Greek drama"[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blyth, Charles (1990. Vol. 24, no. 3, pgs. 211-218.), Virgilian Tragedy and Troilus, The Chaucer Review 
  2. ^ Jang, Esther (January 24, 2014), Harry Styles Tattoo Meanings: See All the One Direction Singer's Ink and the Significance Behind His Tattoos, Latin Post 

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