The basis of this poem is an ancient Greek myth about how Orpheus, using his amazing music, tried to return his beloved Eurydice from the kingdom of the dead. Hades, the lord of the kingdom of the dead, promises to return her, but on one condition: on the way from the kingdom of the dead, Orpheus should not look at his beloved, who will follow him. But Orpheus could not stand it and turned around and lost Eurydice forever.
In the presentation of Rilke, the antique plot becomes an original work, because the poet focuses on the inner experiences and mental feelings of the heroes.
In the otherworldly landscape depicted by Rilke, it is striking how the author conveyed a sad mood, terrible pictures of loneliness, in which only in some places the shadows of dead souls flicker. They do not see us, do not pay attention, they are deep in themselves, in their death.
The death of a beloved dumbfounded Orpheus. He was so gripped by grief that he ceased to perceive the surrounding reality. He completely stopped playing the lyre, because of pain in his soul he could no longer play.
At the same time, Eurydice does not want to return to the world of the living, because she has already been cleansed of human worries, of human sorrows and experiences. She is preparing to enter into eternal life.
Orpheus turned around because he did not hear the steps of his beloved and Hermes, and decided that Hades had deceived him.
Descent into the kingdom of the dead did not bring any result. But for Orpheus, this was the last hope to restore his beloved if he brought Eurydice back to life, thereby he would regain the meaning of existence. Would cease to be lonely and again began to play beautiful music.
But the reunion of Orpheus and Eurydice turned out to be impossible, because death is an inevitable part of life. No one ever returned from the kingdom of the dead, and even more so only at the whim of one person.