You’d expect a God of Love to be bold in the pursuit of love. Yet Cupid is reluctant to pursue someone if he must oppose his mother. So the girl who’s so lovely she’s mistaken for a love goddess disappears.
Everyone knows Cupid’s mother is Venus/Aphrodite. His father is unknown. His Dad could be his mother’s husband Hephaestus/Vulcan. It could be her lover Mars/Ares. It could even be some mortal man who caught her eye. It’s inferred other Olympians have hooked up with her too. Either way Cupid is considered a full god and not a demigod.
No one considers this state of affairs improper for a Goddess of Love. Cupid’s unknown paternity causes him to cling to his mother for his identity. He’s like he’s a mortal child with a single mother and absentee father. Given these circumstances it’s only natural Cupid goes into the family business. He becomes a God of Love.
There’s no legend that shows Cupid having any angsty identity crisis. They do show him being a “mama’s boy.” She overshadows him so much that only a maiden who usurps Venus’s worship can catch his eye. He marries Psyche in secret. Psyche is abused by his mother when their secret marriage is discovered. Despite all this Psyche is added to the Olympian pantheon when he finally speaks up for her. He exchanges favors with the Elder Gods to have make her an immortal.
Perhaps he spoke up for Psyche because she proved her love for him by undergoing trials. Maybe his heart was moved by the imminent birth of their daughter since Psyche was pregnant at the time.
The legend of their courtship says he was pricked by his own arrow when he first saw Psyche. Is this a way for Cupid to deny any responsibility for choosing her as his mate or else to show the blindness of love?
Such ambiguity makes it hard to know if the Psyche and Cupid legend is a coming of age for him. Cupid carries out his share of duties with no more bids for independence from his mother. For Psyche’s sake I hoped they worked together as co-partners. Married life would be miserable if he still blindly obeyed his mother.
I can’t argue for any particular interpretation of the Cupid and Psyche myth. However, my own version of their courtship shows him learning to accept a more active role. “Cupid’s Intrigue” is in my A Heart for Hubris release. A flashfic of when she first catches his eye will debut tomorrow on this blog.