This study examines the characteristics of French symbolism in the themes of Greek mythology. This is because, in general, between myth and poetry exist many common elements, which will lead us to highlight some faces of the symbolist poets.
First, Baudelaire is a poet who continued to try to return to the so-called "primitive"(in other words "eternal"). As shows his poem "L'Albatros", the poet is an exile who could never leave the ground, despite of his intuitive aspiration to heaven. In this sense, the poet tries in vain to overcome his obstacles. But he should, although eventually fall, go back to heaven with his great wings, like Icarus who is a symbol of defiance despite of the incessant eventual downfall.
Then, in his literary world, Verlaine has shown his poetics of "musicality", "nuances" and "simplicity". These traits are very closely related to the poet's life: for example, his childhood trauma, relationship with Rimbaud, etc. In this sense, Verlaine's face is very similar to that of Orpheus, in the sense that both, after the loss of their eternal love, lost artistic aspiration, and had no capacity to accommodate to reality because of their psychological imbalance and mental weakness.
By being a "Voyant"(Seer), Rimbaud tried to discover the "unknown" poetic world through his literary universe; such an ideal results from the denial of the horrible reality where he lives. By then, the poet must strive to go beyond reality to fly into the unknown, and he tried to reach the unknown by the revolt against anything that condemns men to the limited conditions. This adventure explores new method of sensation in the "derangement of all senses." But this adventure ends with the failure to face "the harsh reality to embrace". In other words, the poet could not change the world with the attitude of demiurge, that of Orpheus, but he must "work", "study" and "cultivate his soul; that is the attitude of Prometheus.
Finally, Mallarme is a poet who was devoted to poetry as a martyr. For him, the "pursuit of the ideal and the absolute" is particularly important in his poetic because it shows in his work the poetic continuity. Mallarme wanted to seek the essence of the ideal. Thus, he tried to discover the absolute beauty in the experience of "Néant"(nothingness). For him, the absolute beauty means no longer the celestial world that was once sought, but the new ideal world that could be achieved by the process of consciousness. It is just by the pursuit of the absolute that the contemporary poetry will turn into a kind of religion; that's the hopeless future of contemporary poetry. This means that the poetry of today confronts an inevitable reality of "itself" (eg, the problem of poetic language), like Narcissus gazing at his face reflected on the water.