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"Echo and Narcissus" Summary, Author, Characters and Themes

Echo and Narcissus by Thomas Bulfinch


Author of "Echo and Narcissus":

Thomas Bulfinch is the author and the writer of Echo and Narcissus. He is an American writer from Massachusetts. He was born in 1796 and died in 1867. "Echo and Narcissus" story is considered as one of his three books collected in his mythology. Those three books are: Stories of Gods and Heroes in which Echo and Narcissus is involved, Legends of King Arthur and finally Romance of the middle ages.


Setting of "Echo and Narcissus":

As a matter of fact, the events of "Echo and Narcissus" story happen in the ancient times in Greek in a city called Thespiae which is located in the republic of Boeotia in Africa. In addition, the main characters are Echo which is a nymph who falls in love with a handsome youth named Narcissus but he doesn’t love her back.


Characters of "Echo and Narcissus":

1- Narcissus: A very handsome youth who is loved by a lot of nymphs from which is Echo.

2- Echo: A nymph that loves Narcissus so much. Mountains are her house.

3- Juno: The queen of gods.


Summary of "Echo and Narcissus":

The author tells us in Echo and Narcissus about Echo. Echo is a nymph that lives in mountains but she has a lot of negative traits in her character. She talks a lot and likes to have the last word when she speaks with anyone. Once upon a time, the goddess Juno is searching for her husband who is enjoying his time and plating with other nymphs and doesn’t care about his wife. 

When Echo knows that the goddess is looking for him, she goes to talk to her in order to delay her so that the nymphs could go away. As for Juno, she knows the trick and punishes Echo by preventing her from talking first to anyone but she has only the right to reply. Later, Echo falls in love with a youth named Narcissus who is loved by many nymphs but he neglects all of them including Echo. Therefore, she starts to neglect herself and her own health and she begins to fade quickly. 

On the other side, Narcissus goes to a beautiful fountain and sees on the surface of the water his reflection. He falls in love with this reflection which starts to appear and disappear. Narcissus, like Echo, starts to lose his beauty and becomes sad because he wants to talk to this reflection but he can’t. At the end, he dies but when nymphs go to bury him, they find beautiful purple flowers with white leaves instead of his body.


Themes of "Echo and Narcissus":

Thomas in "Echo and Narcissus" story talks about a lot of theme from which are the over pride. We see when we read "Echo and Narcissus" story that Narcissus is very proud of himself and his beauty that he even falls in love with his own reflection. On the contrary, he dies because of caring too much about himself. Another theme discussed by Thomas is the neglected love as Echo falls in love with Narcissus but all he cares about is his beauty.


Story Impression & Criticism:

In my opinion, I liked "Echo and Narcissus" story so much because it is full of different themes. In addition, I liked the love of Echo to Narcissus but I hated how he neglected her since true love can’t be found easily. I also hated the end because I wished that both of them could reunite together and love each other.


"Echo and Narcissus" Plot Summary, Characters and Themes

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