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Pygmalion did not like women, and blamed them for everything. So, instead of finding a real wife, he decided to make himself one. Pygmalion carved out a woman made of ivory that he thought was even more beautiful than any live woman could ever be. He dressed up this ivory woman and gave her gifts, taking her as his wife. Once the festival of Venus rolled around, Pygmalion prayed to the goddess to bring him a wife that was like his ivory statue, though the goddess knew he meant he wanted his ivory statue as his one and only wife. Venus heard his prayer and granted life to the statue, and once Pygmalion returned home, he kissed his wife, finding her to be warm and alive, and he could not have been more overjoyed.
The conflict in Pygmalion and Galatea is Pygmalion’s denial and obsession. Pygmalion distances himself from women and decides that he just had had enough with them, but he clearly wants a love so badly that he just makes himself one instead of trying to find a real woman. After Pygmalion denies all women, he becomes obsessed with the ‘perfect’ ivory statue he made to be his own wife. It is not revealed what women have done that has so greatly upset Pygmalion that he gives them up all together, but it reveals how he deals with conflict.
This story immediately reminds me of Narcissus. He, like Pygmalion, is obsessed with something or someone; however, instead of an inanimate object, he falls in love with his own reflection. Narcissus turns down all of his suitors, thinking that none are good enough for him, and Pygmalion completely turns away from all women, thinking that the only thing good enough for him is a wife that he can make with the help of a goddess. These stories seem to parallel each other in more ways than one, showing how Greek mythology allusions can also relate to each other.
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