I have a confession to make. I have always had a school girl crush on Marilyn Monroe. Who wouldn’t, after all? She had grace, poise and tragedy.
We love a good tragedy, which explains our fascination with Britney Spears. But what Britney accomplishes through bumbling, Marylin simply embodied. She was the spirit of American tragedy.
Her’s is a legend of tragedy, which is why it is not surprising that a poet once compared her beauty to that of the golden trumpet of spring known as the daffodil. Daffodils are beautiful flowers, but they are as equally tragic as dear Marylin.
The ancient Greeks thought their nodding flowers were mournful and that they were an omen of death. They also thought the yellow flower grew throughout the land of the Underworld. The Greeks were not the only ones to associate them with death. The Egyptians and Medieval Europe did as well.
The myth of the daffodil says that they are the living essence of a young man who fell in love with his own reflection and died pining away for it. It is uncertain if the tragedy here lies in the fact that he missed his chance at true love in the nymph name Echo or in the fact that he mistook himself for a woman or that Echo didn’t just slap him upside the head and tell him to get over himself.
Greek myth also states that Persephone was imprisoned by Hades after he captured her while she was picking daffodils.
The daffodils botanical name is Narcissus, which shares the same root as narcotic. The bulbs contain a paralyzing poison. Roman soldiers reputedly carried them into battle and if they were badly injured, they would consume them so that they might die painlessly.
Daffodils are also doomed to destroy those around it. Put a single cut daffodil in a vase with other flower and in morning you will wake to a bunch of dead flowers with one live daffodil trying not to look suspicious.
Beautiful and tragic, a deadly combination that we can’t help falling in love with, whether it be a flower or a woman.