The story of Cupid and Psyche (Love and the Soul) appears to be a story within the the story The Golden Ass by Apuleius. Its Story is reminiscent of, or more likely a predecessor to the more contemporary story of Beauty and the Beast. The retelling of the Golden Ass the Story of Lucius from the Roman Algerian area and his misfortunate exploits whereas his magical experiments go awry turning him in an Ass, followed by and journey and attempts to return to Human, which bring him through trials and tribulations and pleading with the Gods for Divine Intervention to correct his condition.
The basic story line makes the similarity apparent to the Beauty and The Beast, whereas a Beautiful Mortal Woman is forced into captivity through outside forces, in this case the Gods; Venus, Apollo, and Cupid. Both these stories revolve around The Power of Love overcoming ugliness, obstacles and commitment to their Lover. The initial plot where neither is allowed to see their keeper and prospective spouses (Cupid and the Beast) and then diverges when one is God Like Handsome and Perfect and the other a Hideous Beast. It is here where the Story of the Contemporary Story takes the Classical Drama differ, but the combining of Lucius and Cupids story into the Beauty and the Beast is clear by the hideous beast representing the Lucius the Ass melding the overall tale with the inner Cupid and Psyche Story into one.
The relation of the central oppositions found in classical Genres is multifaceted. The Male/Female aspect is very modern and forward thinking with Psyche acting like a Male Epic Hero, undertaking God inspired challenges and quests, much like the Epic Male Heroes' like Odysseus and Achilles. In this Story, Psyche even surpasses them in stature by ultimately in the end, being granted Immortality and joining the Gods on Olympus by Zeus, rewarding her for accomplishing all of Venus's extreme tasks that were meant to destroy.
This of course is in contrast to what is displayed as the predominant role of a woman as subservient and obedient to their Male Spouse or counterpart. This early progressive Female/Male Role change is reflected heavily in such works as the Aeneid, from Dido of Carthage to Camila , the leader of the Volscians. This forward thinking and representation in Classical Tragedy and Tragedy/Comedic Literary works is also exemplified in the Antigone, with her role as Queen, running the Kingdom while Agamemnon was away and then her dominant role in the Epic Story. Psyche's role is somewhat similar to Camilla with her triumphs over the tasks given by Venus, minus the historical background of warriorship and famous prowess in battle.
The Story like many of the other Epics and Tragedies utilize many different aspects of storytelling and poetry that resonated with the masses. For example; throughout all of the Classics, the author or narrators simultaneously utilize the Gods Decrees and Rules to give credibility to the Values and Ethics that were held by the society at the time, during times of great strife and war, Glory was held as the center of society's values, as in the Iliad and the Aeneid. The Gods helped demonstrate the same best and worst traits of Humanity and contrast them against human mortality, desires and failings. In the tale of Cupid and Psyche, the God Venus is jealous of Psyche's Beauty, which sets the wheels in motion for much pain and anguish, quests and tasks to be fulfilled. This contrast of the amongst the power of love and jealousy. This inner story does contrast the more comedic genre of the Golden Ass, that pokes more fun and During other periods, when the greek city states were more unified and culture and philosophy were able to flourish during relatively peaceful times, however, it utilized human conflict to demonstrate the extremes of human character.
The use of the Comedic Genre in the Golden Ass, is akin to the presenting news, morals, beliefs, values and moral dilemma like the Daily Show or Colbert report. Comedy pulls down mental defensiveness and openness to ideas that otherwise would be shut out and almost tricked into thinking about and discussing, either with fellow audience