by Rita Dove
Persephone, Falling Theme of Lust
Lust only makes a cameo in "Persephone, Falling," but it's really the background for a lot of the psychology of the poem. We're talking about a girl coming of age, here. There are bound to be some desires at play. Hades is mostly painted as a lusty monster, but there are a few hints that Persephone is perhaps feeling a wee bit frisky, too.
Questions About Lust
- What is the difference between love and lust in this poem and in general?
- Check out the mother's advice. Are parents ever able to help their children deal with these new temptations? How?
- Who would you say is guiltier of lust in the poem: Hades or Persephone? How would you defend that answer?
- What language in the poem tells us that we are dealing with lust and not love?
Chew on This
Hades is scary sexy—he represents the intimidating appeal of lust to the young Persephone.
If we read the last two lines literally, it's just a rehash of a tired old wives' tale: that fleshly desires or lust will ultimately lead to doom.