Comparing The Marriage Of Homeric Hymn To Demeter

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The Homeric Hymn to Demeter depicts Persephone’s abduction into the underworld to be a legitimate form of marriage mocking the social climate of Ancient Greece when innocent young women had their youth stolen from them through the nonconsensual solicitation of their hand in marriage. Women were sold into marriage most often against their own will to someone much older than them, and this portrayal of Persephone acts as an exaggeration of these tensions at the time. Marriage was not seen as a relationship of equals; moreover, it was seen as a business proposition, always at the expense of the woman. We see similarities in the young Persephone’s abduction as the Hymn details, “Against her will he seized her and on his golden chariot carried her away as she wailed.” The actions of seizing her while she was innocently picking flowers and her wailing tell us that this marriage was involuntary. …show more content…

Marriage was an imposition on them just as it is to Persephone, most commonly imposed at the turning point in their adulthood. Although forced, it was still seen as a valid type of matrimony. In Hyperionides response to Demeter, he acknowledges that it is Zeus who allowed Persephone to be taken saying, “Zeus, who gave her to Hades, his own brother, to become his buxom bride”. Zeus is referred to as the father of Persephone; thus his ‘giving away’ of his daughter is seen as approval of the marriage. Fathers sold their daughters into marriage for money or to keep profit in the family name. This points fun at that idea by Zeus allowing the marriage between his daughter and brother. Another phrase to focus on in this quote is “buxom bride”, which ultimately means Zeus wants his daughter to be a good and obedient bride. Hyperionides using the word “bride” rather than captive or slave illustrates that this abduction was a form of ‘legal’

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