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Persephone, the Goddess of Death
One spring day, while Persephone is out alone picking flowers, she is kidnapped by Hades, the King of the Underworld, to be his queen. Persephone’s mother Demeter (the Goddess of Earth), out of grief, put on a cloak to create winter and spite the Earth -- nothing could grow. It was winter for a year, and Demeter waited for the Earth to die.
However, Zeus could not let this happen. He sent Hermes, his messenger, to find Persephone. When Hermes traveled to the Underworld and told Hades of Zeus’ message, Hades agreed to let her go. But before Persephone left, Hades offered her some pomegranate, as she had not eaten at all during her stay. She ate three seeds, and Hermes took her back to her mother.
When Demeter saw her daughter, she removed her cloak, and it was spring again. But, because Persephone ate the food of the dead (the three pomegranate seeds), she must return to the Underworld for three months every year. For these three months, it becomes winter again.



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Significance of Persephone:

Persephone brings harvest every spring, and takes it away during the winter. She symbolizes the different seasons and the harvest. Persephone is both life and death. The Ancient Greeks valued her as the creator of seasons, and used the pomegranate in many ceremonies. Pomegranates are still used today in funeral rites in Greece.
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Examples of Archetype & Allusion:
The following examples illustrate a parent's distress at a stolen child (like Demeter's), or the good and bad images of a character (seen in Persephone as Goddess of Death):
The Lovely Bones: George Harvey kidnapped Suzie Salmon
Harry Potter: Snape is both a bad character and a good one
Beauty and the Beast: The beast takes Belle, and her father Maurice is upset until her marriage
Lost: Alex is taken from her mother Danielle
Finding Nemo: Marlin freaks when Nemo is captured, and until they are reunited it is "winter"

The idea of a person that represents life, growth, and sometimes death, is seen in the television show, Heroes. Some characters have the ability to give and take life by a mere touch, while others can regenerate after injury or cause things in nature to grow.


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Persephone in The Odyssey:
Persephone is seen in books ten and eleven of The Odyssey. She is referenced when it speaks of the house of Hades and Persephone (the underworld). She gives intelligence after life to only one person, Tiresias, who Odysseus speaks with from the advice of Circe. When Circe gives Odysseus directions to the Underworld, she references Persephone’s grove. Odysseus fears Persephone's power and anger in the book. In The Odyssey, we don’t see Persephone as an innocent girl trapped against her will, but as queen of the underworld.

Persephone, Demeter, and Hermes
Persephone, Demeter, and Hermes