TRIGGER WARNING: I do talk about the subject of Rape and its etymology. I do not want to trigger anyone with my interpretation of the context. For the record Rape, in the context of today is A FUCKING TERRIBLE THING!!! I am not about it and I am trying to fight against the rape culture.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Lately I’ve been doing some research on the myths and stories surrounding the greek figures Hades and Persephone. Now, mind you this is the springboard for a panel I am working on at a convention coming up in about a month.
And OH MY FUCKING GOD!
The Greek Mythos is literally inspiring me for more world building factors for my novel. Which is a good…and bad thing.
Upon first researching the story I kept seeing the word ‘rape’ come up and I’m going “wait wait wait, Hades, come on buddy, that’s not fucking cool, you’re better than your fuckboy brother Zeus”, but of course I was looking at the word as society sees it today. Sexual violation. This is definitely a trigger not only for me but for SO many people out there that I know and even don’t know, which concerned me, because if I am going to be talking about this then I need to go deeper and even do more research to see if he actually did rape her in the context of today’s meaning of it.
What I found is actually more intriguing than I anticipated and for my own peace of mind I checked and rechecked the etymology of it before writing this. Thank you dictionary.com, wikipedia.com, and etymonline.com. I also found this little article which discusses it and gives some interesting insight:
(You don’t have to go here, I figured I might include it if you did.)
If we look at the word rape, its etymology, where it comes from, it originates from the Latin word rapere which, way back then, meant to snatch, grab, carry off, abduct, seize, you get the idea. It’s an archaic meaning that doesn’t quite translate to what we know the act of rape to be today. However, looking at the root and the origins of the word, it is easy to see how the word morphed into its current present day meaning.
So why is the meaning and etymology of the word rape important to the story of Persephone and Hades?
It is how you look at the word and define it. Are you going to look at the mythos and define it using the word rape in the context of today? Or are you going to look at it in the old archaic context of the word? Because depending on which way you look at their story, it will alter your perception.
Now, I know some of you are going to look at it from the standpoint of today’s meaning and that is perfectly fine. That is your translation of it and I will not fight you on it, as long as you have sufficient evidence and a plausible argument to back it up. If not I’ll bitch slap you with a dictionary.
Personally, I do not believe Hades forced Persephone to have sex with him. I do not believe he forcefully took her virginity or violated her sexually in the slightest. Because, and I cannot emphasize this enough:
He is not like his fuckboy brother Zeus.
Let me say this again.
HE IS NOT LIKE HIS FUCKBOY BROTHER ZEUS!
Have I drilled it into your head that Zeus is a fuckboy and basically has a constant boner all the time? Good. Because that is what he is. (Don’t believe that Disney shit they made in the movie).
Two, the myth never clearly states that he actually did force her to have sex with him. It is interpreted that he did. Also for all we know he might have kidnapped her, had her lived with him and treated her like an actual person instead of a little girl who needed to be protected from men (Demeter you need to work on that overprotectiveness).
And yes Persephone was distraught, I mean I would be too if the Ruler of the Underworld kidnapped me to make me his wife and forced me to live in the underworld with no plants, flowers, sun, and being separated from my mother. I mean come on! Also had she eaten or drank anything frot here she wouldn’t have been able to return to the surface. That was the catch with the underworld.
Well that just added another layer to her misery.
So poor Persephone is not only sacred and alone but she’s also hungry, starving even and that wasn’t because Hades had forced it upon her. It was of her own choosing. He wasn’t abusing her or treating her terribly, at least as far as I can tell, her time in the underworld, while her mom went batshit crazy (yeah Demeter I’m looking at you), Hades actually treated her like a person as opposed to a little girl who needed to be protected from man. I mean for fuck’s sake she did warm his stone cold heart when he saw her before he kidnapped her so it wouldn’t make sense at all for him to treat her terribly after he got her down there.
If you look at Persephone Writes a Letter to Her Mother by A.E. Stallings (which you can find here http://www.poetrynet.org/month/archive/stallings/letter.html ) it’s an interesting depiction and sliver of how Persephone’s time in the underworld was. The way she describes her husband is rather sweet and honest. In fact, I prefer her descriptions of Hades as opposed how the mortals of ancient Greece described him despite the fact that no one fucked with Hades (bad shit happens when you do, take a look at Sisyphus).
Reminder this is just my interpretation on this mythos even after I have found all the research!
But as we all know Demeter, goddammit Demeter, Demeter went fucking crazy. That’s putting it lightly. Don’t get me wrong she had every reason to, wouldn’t you lose your mind a bit after your child had been kidnapped and you couldn’t find them? I mean you’d do everything you could to find them and get them back.
Which she did. She asked Hecate who told her what she knew and to talk to Helios to get the full story then when she found out Hades had taken her daughter…
Well she basically stopped doing her job and nearly caused the world to end.
Talk about an over dramatic reaction. Again, Demeter, your daughter is a grown woman get over your separation issues and stop treating her like a little girl. SHE’S A FUCKING GROWN ASS WOMAN!!!
Can you tell I’m not a huge fan of most of the greek gods?
But at the same time again I can understand where she is coming from. She is an overprotective mother who doesn’t want her precious daughter defiled (which Hades may or may not have done, again up to interpretation of the word rape whether you have it in the old archaic context or the current context) or even kidnapped to go to god knows where (the underworld as she discovered).
Her reaction is justified. And of course she went to Zeus to fix it because oh lordy lord if she did not get her daughter back it would be an endless winter.
Be prepared ancient Greece, winter is coming. Demeter is pissed.
Eventually Zeus concedes, after seeing that the world is basically dying and sends Hermes to the underworld to fetch Persephone to be reunited with her mother.
Well. Hades did agree to return Persephone, and (depending on your interpretation) he either tricked her into eating Pomegranate seeds or she consented to eat them because she was starving. Who knows. Again up to interpretation.
For me, I take a more romantic approach of they actually got to know each other even though she refused to eat, and he treated her like an actual person as opposed to a child and she discovered that maybe being his wife might not be so bad after all and of her own volition ate the pomegranate seeds.
Oh no Persephone ate the seeds nooooo she’s doomed to remain in the underworld forever! Oh woe is the world woe is the world!
Well that is partially true. She did have to stay in the underworld, which pleased Hades and really pissed off Demeter.
Seriously Demeter. Calm. Your. Tits.
So again they go to Zeus who has known of this and basically is partially at fault for the whole debacle and he eventually made a decision which didn’t fully please both parties but it would suffice nonetheless.
For every seed that Persephone consumed, she would spend a month in the underworld with Hades. One seed equals one month. Some sources claim she ate four and spent a third of the year in the underworld. Other sources claim she ate six and spent half of the year down there. Me being me, I favor the six seeds because fall brings about the beginning of the cold months, the beginning of the plants dying, animals preparing for winter, etc.. So for me, I say she ate six and returns to her husband during the fall equinox. But that is just me.
So for spring and summer *insert musical number here from Spring Awakening* Persephone resides on the surface with her mother, and for fall and winter she returns to the underworld to reside as the Queen of the Underworld along side her husband.
Now. I am going to take the romantic aspect away and address the fucked up aspect of the relationship. You ready for this. I fucking hope you are.
The real fucked up part is Hades is her uncle.
Via her father AND mother. Yeah her parents were brother and sister. Zeus is a fuck boy and will stick his dick in anything including blood relatives because apparently he can’t get enough sex. Too much of that little blue pill eh Zeus?
There is just so much incestuous fucked upness in Greek mythology that my brain might explode trying to explain it all.
Let’s face it… the Greek gods were just incestuous little fuckers.
Shit…this post went way deeper into a rabbit hole than I intended…thanks for taking this trip with me fam.
Also Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, and Etymonline.com
THINGS TO REMEMBER: This is all my interpretation of this story even supplemented with research and literary sources. What is stated here is mostly my opinion. Please. Do. Not. Lose. Your. Minds. You may agree or disagree with me. I’m totally cool with either. but then again it’s my fucking blog so I can write what I want.
~ The Brooding Dragon