Alcestis did achieve the perfection of love because she wanted to go to the beloved through death; and dying through love, she was by the grace of the gods revived . . . And Plato could not have suggested this more lightly or subtly than by the example he gave of Orpheus, of whom he says that, desiring to go and see the beloved Eurydice, he did not want to go there through death but, being softened and refined by his music, sought a way going there alive, and for this reason, says Plato, he could not reach the true Eurydice, but beheld only a shadow or spectre . . .
He that examines these matters more closely will find that the beginning of the vita amorosa proceeds from death, because whoever lives for love, first dies to everything else. And if love has in it a certain perfection . . . it is impossible to arrive at that perfection without first dying with regard to the to the more imperfect things. This very rule was followed by Homer, Virgil and Dante: for Homer sent Ulysses into the Underworld, Virgil sent Aeneas, and Dante made himself wander through the Inferno, to show that the way to perfection is by this road. And because of Orpheus did not really die, he was debarred from the perfection of felicity and unable to regain Eurydice.
—Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
—Lorenzo de Medici