Helpless Mothers: Ceres and Andromache

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Helpless Mothers: Ceres and Andromache One of the inherent problems that is prominently on display in both the Iliad and in Ceres and Proserpina is the role of women in Greek and Roman mythology. "To read the history of Ancient Greece as it has been written for centuries is to enter a thoroughly male world" (Blundell, 226). When it comes to a poem like the Iliad, this is even more particularly true as the reader enters a universe of war, where women are very much on the peripheral and the men are the dominant characters directly implied in the bulk of the action (Blundell, 47). "The Iliad is a poem about the Trojan war, and about the heroes who fight in it; and, in the words of the Trojan Prince Hector, 'war is men's business' (6.492). Women make very few appearances in the work, and as far as the action goes, they are insignificant" (Blundell, 48). However, as Blundell points out, women are scattered throughout the text as characters crucial only to the plot of the Iliad. They help keep things moving, often helping to initiate the action that the men become the central players to. The most prime example of this is the abduction of Helen of Troy, the catalyst for the entire war. One could argue that the opposite is true in the story of Ceres and Proserpina, that in this particularly myth the women are central characters and that the entire tale is a ballad to the sacredness of the mother-daughter bond. In fact, comparing a mother figure such as Andromache as she appears

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