Narcissus and Echo- The Science behind it
July 3, 2020

Narcissus and Echo- The Science behind it

By admin

Admit it, that we all have shouted at least once in a vacant large place to hear our echo back. Isn’t it a pleasure to hear our own sound echoing from all sides? But have you ever wondered how echo was innovated? The roots of this lies in Roman mythological epic Metamorphoses by Ovid. It dates back to the Augustan age. Echo and Narcissus were the characters of this epic. Narcissus rejected echo but later fell in love with his own reflection. Can you just believe the extent of science during those ages?!! Our ancestors were great scientists that we must be thankful for. So let’s walk on this route to discover the science behind echo. Are you ready to be amazed?! Let’s begin. Happy reading!!

The epic: Echo is a talkative nymph. She is admired by Goddess Venus for her skills in singing and magnificent voice. Once she tricked Juno, the wife of Jupiter. She made her believe that her husband Jupiter is in the city. Juno cursed her. Echo could only finish a sentence not started and not able to say anything on her own. Due to this, her only use of speech remained the repetition of only the last words out of many. Thus the phenomenon of reverberation of sound was named after her. Later she falls for Narcissus’s charming nature when he chases a deer. When Narcissus comes to know about her curse and her being a nymph, he rejects her. Echo prays to Venus who disappears her. She blesses her that her that Echo would remain as a voice and would be heard by all. Later Narcissus exhausted rests by a spring. He was tired by his enthusiasm and hunting. He drinks water out of thirst from the spring. Suddenly he gets captivated by his own image in the spring. He starts to admire himself just like others admired him. He falls in love with his own self. He then wanders away his time by echoing love for himself just like echo did. He eventually meets his end and his body decays to a Narcissus flower which is still found alongside streams. The pale flower till date gets reflected in water. In some accounts Echo is the daughter of earth goddess Gaia. Due to her curse, she could only speak when spoken to and only repeat the last syllables of the sentence spoken by others to her. Heartbroken after rejection she lives in mountains. Slowly her flesh decays and nothing but her melodious voice remains. According to Ovid’s

Other versions: In earlier Greek versions Echo Is a music lover nymph who lives in the woods. She is admired for her beauty but she rejects proposals of all whether mortal or immortal. The god Pan, who is a rejected suitor orders his Shepherds to cut the body of Echo into pieces. The pieces were shattered hither and thither. Earth Goddess Gala found it and retained Echo’s voice to answer anyone with a sweet voice. In another folklore, it’s mentioned that Pan made Echo dumb. She only had the power to repeat sentences. Eventually the Shepherds grew irritated by her constant repetition and cut her into pieces. In the Western Aboriginal Australian version, Echo is a beautiful small girl named Balyet. She is described at such a lower breed that even death won’t accept her. With time her body decayed though she remained alive. In her sweet melodious voice, she calls children and kills them with her cold embrace. However in all the versions, her aural effectivity is pointed out.

The Physics behind this:  Reverberation and echo both are reflective sounds. Echo is a phenomenon that occurs when the origin sound is reproduced. This occurs when the sound hits a flat surface or bounces back in a vacant land. Depending on this bouncing, echo can be single or multiple. Reverberation is the discontinuous repeat of the source sound from reflective surfaces. It is indicative of the residual participatory policy. The character Echo is symbolic of the reverberating phenomenon in this earth. According to legends Echo still awaits to reply back to anyone addressing her. Who knows perhaps every time our sound is echoed, she replies back!!!

So this was the tale of an unknown mythological character and the science behind it. The ancient civilizations can at times daze you by their excellent scientific progress. We will be back soon with more thrilling articles. So keep following us to remain updated about the unknowns.