Pygmalion (myth)

Pygmalion and Galatea
   In Greek le­gend, Pygmalion was a sculptor and king of Cyprus. He had an aversion to women, but, having made an ivory statue of great beauty, he fell in love with it and besought the gods to give the statue life. His prayer was granted and the beautiful statue became a living woman whom Pygmalion made his wife. W. S. Gilbert used this story as the basis of a play, Pygmalion and Galatea. In the play, Pygmalion is a married man. He and his wife Cynisca are a devoted couple who have prayed the gods for the power of calling down blindness each upon the other in case of unfaithfulness. Pygmalion prays for life for his statue, not because he is in love with his ivory virgin, but because the creative instinct of the artist has become so strong a passion with him that nothing short of a living statue will satisfy it. The statue becomes alive, and Pygmalion is so infatuated with the work of his hands that his wife believes him untrue and calls down blindness from heaven upon him. Galatea, seeing the unhappiness she has caused, vol­untarily returns to her former state—a life­less statue.