Study Guide

Orpheus and Eurydice Persephone (Proserpine)

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Persephone (Proserpine)

Persephone, the unwilling Queen of the Underworld, is the daughter of Zeus (king of the gods) and Demeter (the goddess of agriculture). Hades was so taken with her beauty that he kidnapped her from earth, much to the distress of her mother. After some squabbling, Hades and Demeter reached a compromise: for most of the year, Persephone can stay above ground, but she must return to the Underworld for at least a few months. When Persephone is away, Demeter is so depressed that nothing will grow in the land. (Fun fact: this is how the ancient Greeks explained the change of the seasons.)

Persephone is associated with renewal, pomegranates (she ate a few in the Underworld, which trapped her there), and girls on the edge of womanhood. If you want some more info, check out her role in the Hades, Demeter, and Persephone myth.

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