Study Guide 2003 Demeter

Study Guide 2003 Demeter - Hymn to Demeter Plot Summary:...

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Hymn to Demeter Plot Summary: The story unfolds with Persephone playing in a beautiful lush garden. Soon thereafter, Hades abducts Persephone and brings her into the underworld. While Persephone does release a scream when she is initially kidnapped, no god or human hears her except for Hekate and Helios. Demeter senses that something has happened to her daughter and frantically searches for Persephone for nine days, during which time she refuses to eat or drink. On the tenth day of her search, Demeter discovers Zeus gave Persephone to Hades to take as his bride. In her anger with Zeus, Demeter withdraws from Olympus and retreats to a mortal household where she functions as nurse to a newborn male baby. She disguises herself as an old woman named Dos who was abducted by men and escaped during a feast, which she refused to partake in. While performing a ceremony to make the newborn baby immortal and to thus bring him everlasting honor, the mother of the child releases a wail that interrupts the ritual and angers Demeter, who then retreats from making him immortal. In her anguish for the loss of her daughter, Demeter brings infertility to the fields for one whole year, and thus deprives all of the gods with sacrifice and honor. Zeus sees this, and tires to persuade Demeter to bring bounty back upon the earth, offering her gifts and honor. Demeter refuses. Finally, Zeus persuades Hades to allow Persephone to resurface and see her mother. Hades, however, gives Persephone a pomegranate which she eats before leaving. Because Persephone ate of the Pomegranate, Zeus ordains that she must spend one part of the year with Hades and the other two parts with Demeter on earth. Thus Demeter restores bounty upon the earth, and each time Persephone resurfaces from the underworld, prosperity is lavished onto the world. Major Characters: Persephone: The daughter of Demeter, she is associated with beauty, sexual allure, and lushness. She is often compared to a blossoming flower, and indeed Hades kidnaps her from a garden full of flowers. Persephone is the object of desire in the text. Both Demeter and Hades desire Persephone and the plot of the story is based on this conflict. Persephone’s character is full of ambiguities.
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2011 for the course HUMA 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at Columbia.

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Study Guide 2003 Demeter - Hymn to Demeter Plot Summary:...

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