Study Guide

Persephone (Proserpine)

Profile

Poor Persephone—this girl really got the short end of the stick. Sure, she's the beautiful daughter of Demeter, goddess of agriculture, and Zeus, king of the gods. But she's also very unhappily married to Hades, king of the Underworld, who kidnapped her and forced her to be his queen. Demeter threw a total fit about her daughter's abduction and in protest, she made it so nothing would grow on Earth. Things got so bad that Zeus stepped in, and a compromise was reached. Now, Persephone is allowed to return to her mother for part of the year. When she's with Demeter, flowers bloom and crops are plentiful. But when Persephone heads back down to the Underworld, Demeter won't let anything grow. And that, dear Shmoopers, is why we have the seasons.

P.S. Like her mother, Persephone was a chief goddess of the Eleusinian Mysteries—a cult which celebrated the cycle of death and rebirth—and promised its initiates a blessed afterlife.

Basic Information

Name

Persephone (Proserpine)

Nickname

Proserpina, Despoina, Core, Kore, Flower Child

Sex

Female

Current city

The Underworld (most of the time)

Work & Education

Occupation

Queen of the Underworld, Goddess of Spring
General Duties: (Unwillingly) ruling the Underworld at Hades' side

Education

Demeter's School of Frolicking and Flower Picking (valedictorian)
Hades' School of Soul Herding (last in the class)

Beliefs

Political views

Anti-Hades

Family & Friends (& Enemies)

Parents

Zeus, Demeter (love you, Mom!)

Children

(These are all maybes...)
The Erinyes (by Hades)
Zagreus, Iaachus, Dionysus (by Zeus)
Melinoe (by Zeus)

Friends

Demeter
Hecate
Hermes

Enemies

Hades
Aphrodite
Hades
Cerberus (who farts and barks too much)

Relationships

Relationship status

(Unwillingly) married to Hades, major crush on Adonis

Favorites

Quotations

"in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious"
e. e. cummings

"Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to be used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused"
– The Eurythmics

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying."
Robert Herrick

"Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues strong
It's always darkest before the dawn"
– Florence and the Machine

Books

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
"To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time (Gather ye rosebuds)" by Robert Herrick
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
"in Just" by e. e. cummings
Antigone by Sophocles
"I felt a Funeral in my Brain" by Emily Dickinson
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee

Music

Shake it Out by Florence and the Machine
Us by Regina Spektor
Poison and Wine by The Civil Wars
Video Games by Lana del Rey
Set Fire to the Rain by Adele
Sweet Dreams by The Eurythmics
Rite of Spring/Persephone by Stravinsky
No Light, No Light by Florence and the Machine
Summertime performed by Norah Jones

Movies

Death and the Maiden
Desperate Housewives (TV show)
Taken
The Secret Garden
Pan's Labyrinth
Not Without My Daughter
Bridesmaids
Tangled
Thelma and Louise
Alice in Wonderland
True Blood (TV show)

Activities & Interests

Likes

Garden tours
Flower arranging
Spring rain
Seeds
New sprouts
Corn on the cob (lots of butter)

Interests

Floral design
Meteorology
Botany
Divorce Law

Groups

Beauty Queens
Flower Lovers
Damsels in Distress