Orpheus and Eurydice
One of the most tragic love stories of Greek mythology. Orpheus was the son of the Muse Calliope and therefore a grand musician. His wife was a dryad, Eurydice, who also attracted the attentions of Aristaeus. Aristaeus pursued her until she stepped on a poisonous snake and was forced into the Underworld.
Orpheus was determined to retrieve his beloved. He journeyed down to the underworld, first charming Charon, ferryman of the dead, and lulling to sleep Cerberus, the three-headed watchdog. He encountered Hades, who initially refused to release Eurydice, but Orpheus’s music so touched Persephone that she pleaded Orpheus’s case, and Hades relented. There was one condition: that Orpheus not look back on their way out. Of course, Orpheus was worried that Eurydice was not behind him, and he fatefully glanced back to see if she was following him. She disappeared back into Hades, and he lost her forever.
Unable to live without her, Orpheus spent the rest of his days wandering in aimless sorrow before he was finally murdered by maenads, the drunken followers of Dionysus.