Meaning of “Ptolemaea” by Ethel Cain

There’s a complex background behind this song (“Ptolemaea”), with its lyrics said to have been influenced by Biblically-inspired literature (i.e. Dante’s Inferno), Ethel Cain’s personal/family life and the narrative/concept of the album this track is derived from. 

Likewise, the lyrics are quite convoluted, to say the least. But ultimately, what it appears Cain is speaking to is the act of betrayal and how karma, if you will, eventually catches up with those who commit such acts. And it can also be argued that she is making such observations primarily or most discernibly in a romantic context.

“I followed you in
I was with you there
I invited you in
Twice, I did
You love blood too much
But not like I do
Not like I do”

When was “Ptolemaea” released?

“Ptolemaea” was released on 12th May, 2022. It is the ninth track off Cain’s debut album, “Preacher’s Daughter”.


Ethel Cain wrote this track on her own, and produced it alongside Matthew Tomasi.


The Long and Short of “Ptolemaea”

Beneath the extravagant lyrics, “Ptolemaea” seems to hint at the innate vulnerability associated with falling in love.

The vulnerability of being in love

Falling in love can be a bit scary, right? It’s like you’re giving someone a piece of your heart, trusting them to take care of it. You end up sharing secrets, dreams, the real you. Yeah, it’s beautiful, but it’s kinda like walking on a tightrope too. You might get hurt; you might not. It’s a gamble, but many would say it’s worth the risk for the joy and closeness it brings. It’s just one of those things; love comes with both the butterflies and a dose of vulnerability. It’s all part of the package.

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