Definitions

Melpomene

Melpomene

[mel-pom-uh-nee]
Melpomene: see Muses.

Melpomène (Greek Μελπομένη, ) ("to sing" or "the one that is melodious") , initially the Muse of Singing, she then became the Muse of Tragedy, for which she is best known now. Her name was derived from the Greek verb melpô or melpomai meaning "to celebrate with dance and song." She is often represented with a tragic mask and wearing the cothurnus, boots traditionally worn by tragic actors. Often, she also holds a knife or club in one hand and the tragic mask in the other. On her head she is shown wearing a crown of cypress. Melpomene is the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Her sisters include Calliope (muse of epic poetry), Clio (muse of history), Euterpe (muse of flute playing), Terpsichore (muse of dancing), Erato (muse of erotic poetry), Thalia (muse of comedy), Polyhymnia (muse of hymns), and Urania (muse of astronomy).

Appearances in popular culture

  • In Roman and Greek poetry, it was traditional to invoke the goddess Melpomene so that one might create beautiful lyrical phrases (see Horace's Odes).
  • "Melpo Mene" is the name of a music project fronted by Erik Mattiason, from Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Melpomene is mentioned in the first line of George Peele's poem "Œnone's Complaint" and also in Section LVI of John Keats' poem "Isabella; or The Pot of Basil."
  • Danish rock band Kashmir included a song titled Melpomene on their 2003 album Zitilites.
  • The muse Melpomene appeared in Walt Disney Pictures film Hercules (1997 film); Broadway actress Cheryl Freeman provided her voice.
  • In the video game Dead or Alive 2 and Dead or Alive 4, the character Helena Douglas' fight theme is entitled "Blazed up Melpomene".
  • She is portrayed in Xanadu the Musical on Broadway by Mary Testa.
  • Melpominée is the name of the discipline developed and used by the Daughters of Cacophony in the role playing game Vampire: the Masquerade.

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