Study Guide

Demeter's Prayer to Hades Growing Things

By Rita Dove

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Growing Things

The results of Hades' (and our own, by extension) actions are symbolized by things that do or do not grow. For instance, in line 7, Demeter talks about the "trail" that Hades planted when he came to earth to take Persephone. But the seeds of his selfish actions didn't exactly produce the best fruit; in line 8, Demeter says that the ground only opened to "waste," not to anything alive. In the myth, it is then that she decides not to allow anything to grow on earth until Persephone is above ground. Her revenge results in famine and winter on earth. Because Hades planted the seeds of selfishness, nothing good grows, even though he "dreamed a wealth of flowers" (dreamed of good things), as Demeter claims in line 10.

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