The Similarities and Differences Between Greek and Roman Literature of the Myth of the Abduction of Persephone/Proserpine

963 Words Jun 15th, 2018 4 Pages
In Ovid Metamorphoses, the Roman literature described the ruthless act of Pluto of rape, to seize and carry away Proserpine without the consent of Ceres and in parallel in the Homeric Hymns of Demeter; Persephone was seized and carried away by Hades without the consent of Demeter. The invariant theme that was identified in both the Greek and Roman literature was the loss of innocence of Persephone/Proserpine. Despite the various differences the story was presented, it reinforced the innocence that was stolen from the god of the underworld, Hades or also known as Pluto. Throughout this paper, it will discuss the similar characteristics of the two myths such as the motive that led and encouraged the god of the underworld to kidnap …show more content…
Despite the similarities in both the Homeric Hymns to Demeter and Ovid Metamorphoses, the Roman literature incorporated new characters into the myth of the rape of Proserpine. In the Homeric Hymns to Demeter, the gods and goddesses that were involved in the abduction of Persephone were Gaia, Zeus, and Hades whereas in Ovid Metamorphoses, Venus, the goddess of sexuality and Cupid, the son of Venus and god of desire were introduced and involved in the scheme of the abduction of Proserpine.
Unlike in the Homeric Hymns to Demeter, in the Roman literature, Jove and Gaia were involved in the abduction of Persephone/Proserpine, representing one of the differences that Ovid did not retain with the earlier Greek source.
In the Roman literature, it illustrated the myth that Pluto stole Proserpine’s innocence due to effects of cupid’s arrow sent by Venus. Through an analytical perspective, Ovid illustrated Venus as the goddess who too wanted the unification of the three cosmos for extension of power “why should hell lag behind? Why not there too extend your mother’s empire and your own?” (Met., p. 110) and being the goddess of sexuality and not having the power to tamper with the virginities of Pallas and Diana but Proserpine, she planned to “kill two birds with one stone” by summoning her son Cupid to shoot an arrow through Pluto’s heart “against his and shot the barbed shaft deep in Pluto’s heart” (Met., p. 111) to take away Proserpine’s virginity followed by her
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