Study Guide

Demeter's Prayer to Hades Power

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Q: In Greek and Roman myth, which has all the power? A: It's the gods, of course. It's just that they don't always act like gods; they behave more like humans, making mistakes and messing things up for everyone.

In "Demeter's Prayer to Hades," Hades has made one such mistake, and Demeter doesn't waste any time telling him just how badly he screwed everything up. With power comes plenty of responsibility, she says, and nobody should take that lightly, be they god or mere mortal.

Questions About Power

  1. How does Hades abuse his power? Can we tell that he's done something wrong even if we don't know the backstory?
  2. What, or who, does Demeter say Hades is responsible for? Why?
  3. Are the gods the only ones who hold any power in the poem? Do mortals have any power over anything at all?
  4. Does Demeter abuse her power, too? How? Why? What parts of the poem give you your answer?

Chew on This

Humans invented the Greek myths and gave the gods power. That means that they gave them human flaws, too. This poem is proof of that.

Demeter has power over humans, and also over her own actions, just like Hades.

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