This article illustrates processes of sympathetic understanding through contrasting the myths of Alcyone and Orpheus that are told in the Metamorphoses. Ovid's narrative technique, his particular manner of using poetic images to evoke sympathetic responses that are concurrent inner recognitions, offers a valuable and enduring contribution to a psychology of myth. Ovid's story of Alcyone creates a climate within which the mingling of physical sensual details and imaginal perceptions becomes a poetry of events at hand, where nature and the human being interpenetrate. Orpheus's love, on the other hand, illustrates the power to captivate the psyche in a spiritual longing for another world and union that is found only in the underworld. Unlike Orpheus's love, that celebrates love's evanescence, Alcyone's love defies that kind of Orphic spiritualizing and removal from the world.

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