Persephone Hymn Analysis

1107 WordsOct 8, 20175 Pages
In the Hymn to Demeter, power structures decide whose actions are considered just or unjust. The Goddess Demeter, the “giver of seasons,” mother of Persephone, becomes enraged when Persephone is kidnapped by Aidonous/Hades, God of the Underworld, with the help of Zeus, God of Mount Olympus. Demeter not being included in the discussion to give away her daughter is the source of the main conflict in the Hymn, which ultimately led to a mass famine. The plot of the Hymn is: Demeter refused to allow crops to grow to bring about mass famine as retaliation for her daughter being taken from her. When Zeus, finally intervenes and forces Aidonous to return Persephone to her mother, Aidonous finds a way to give Persephone pomegranate seeds to eat…show more content…
The word “consent” suggests that consent is favored but not mandatory. In Zeus and Demeter’s relationship, Zeus holds the power, and two major events in the first section of the Hymn are the prof of that: Zeus giving away their daughter without Demeter’s knowledge. The silence of the other gods and goddesses during Persephone’s kidnapping could be interpreted as a sign that Zeus is the ultimate decision maker and as such he has the power to give consent. The events of the Hymn show that Demeter has neither the right to choose what happens to her daughter nor the power to enforce her wishes. The phrase, “without the consent of Demeter” is used in the opening of the text. Use of the word “consent” in the Hymn establishes that the concept of morality is addressed. Aidonous is only able to “seize” Persephone because Zeus “gave” her away, indicating that Zeus is at fault. Taking Persephone without her mother’s consent is Zeus’ unjust act and thus immoral. Noting that their actions were done, “without the consent of Demeter” implies that Demeter should have the right to give consent on Persephone’s behalf. However, it is never explicitly stated in the Hymn that Demeter has this right. (lines 1-4) It is important to note that not one of the other Gods or Goddesses intervenes during the kidnapping of Persephone. It is as if Zeus’ approval is all that is necessary for Persephone’s loss of freedom to

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