Study Guide

Demeter's Prayer to Hades Lines 6-10

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Lines 6-10

Lines 6-7

Now for the first time
I see clearly the trail you planted,

  • We're back to those kooky Greek gods and their drama here. Demeter can see where Hades emerged as he came up from the underworld to steal Persephone. He left a trail.
  • A trail of what, you ask? The word "planted" would indicate he left some kind of seed.
  • Demeter uses lots of "planting" metaphors. After all, she is the goddess of agriculture. It's pretty fitting. (Check out "Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay" for more on that.)
  • Could this trail be figurative language for some type of legacy? It's not clear just yet. Let's read on…

Line 8

what ground opened to waste,

  • Well, whatever Hades "planted," it didn't grow into anything. Instead, it turned everything to waste. (We guess his green thumb is still pretty black.)
  • In other words, on his selfish journey to steal Persephone, he harmed the world… and everyone in it. Way to go, hades.
  • Isn't that what happens when we act without thinking? Dove is reminding us that selfish actions have unforeseen repercussions and, well, they aren't very good.

Lines 9-10

though you dreamed a wealth
of flowers.

  • Hades didn't literally dream about flowers growing; Dove is using figurative language again. The flowers are a metaphor for good, prosperous thoughts.
  • In other words, Hades clearly didn't foresee his actions having any negative consequences—or maybe… he just didn't care.
  • Either way, the outcome wasn't as positive as he planned, just like the outcomes of our own selfish actions often are more negative than we considered (sad but true, Shmoopers).

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