Prayer to Persephone by Alayna Overman

According to Greek Mythology, the daughter of Demeter and Zeus was the Goddess of Spring Persephone. Persephone was kidnapped by Hades, the God of the Underworld along with Zeus while she was picking flowers with Artemis and Athena. Demeter was outraged and would not allow anything to grow until Persephone was returned. But, Hades wished to marry her and fed 6 pomegranate seeds to Persephone which bound her to the Underworld, a month for each seed. Zeus intervened as to stop the death of the mortals from starvation and bring back the fruit of the earth. It was then decided that for 6 months out of the year, Persephone would live in the underworld with her Husband who she has grown to love. Lessons of this Myth: There are always consequences to your actions, outcomes are not always liked or wanted for any party and tings happen for a reason. Family is not to be underestimated and will do anything for each other.


Using the tone of the poem is we can see Distress and Love. Millay shows in lines 3 and 6 and 9-10, how Hades may have felt with Persephone right after her capture. Those lines show that in Hades loneliness, he wanted Persephone to know that he cares for her and that she would grow to love him and their new home. Millay illustrates Persephone, Upset and crying after being kidnapped and held against her will. "Take her head upon your knee;/Say to her, 'My dear, my dear,/ It is not so dreadful here" (Millay lines 9-11). "Prayer to Persephone" shows Hades knowing that Hell isn't where one would wish to be and how he understands how she is feeling. It creates the mood of unhappiness yet an underlying love. Hades kidnapped Persephone out of love yet knew that she didn't have a need of him (Millay 2-6).

Putting flowers on graves symbolize Persephone descending into the Underworld, as flowers descend onto a grave sight. As Persephone was the Goddess of Spring and Hades was the God of the Underworld we can see the life meeting with death. Allowing a happy remembrance to a sad ending. Another allusion is that of The Phantom of the Opera.
In the 2009 adaption of the Phantom of the Opera Christine Daae, a bright young and beautiful girl is lured then captured by the Phantom, a dark mysterious man to his underground lair as he is in love with her. As described in lines 4&5 "She that was so proud and wild,/ Flippant, arrogant and free"(Millay, lines 4&5), Persephone was kidnapped by a mysterious man who took her to his lair. Hades and the Phantom. Both in love with a girl who is nothing like them and try to get her by any means.
"Prayer to Persephone" is about Hades trying to comfort Persephone as she is mourning her kidnapping. Hades though keeping Persephone in the Underworld against her will, still wants he to know his love and care for her as stated in lines 3 and 7 saying "Take her head upon your knee/ Is a little lonely child". The Phantom of the Opera is a young bright girl who was taken by a dark selfish figure and kept within his lair. Christine is upset for a time after knowing the truth of her captor, unlike Persephone who finds love in hers. Persephone, the Goddess of Spring was taken to the land of the Underworld- the place of death as Christine was taken under the Opera house, the place she thrived and spread joy just like placing happy flowers near a place of death. "Prayer to Persephone" was Hades wanting Persephone to feel love and comfort during her time of need, just like placing flowers on a grave to comfort those mourning. Also like Christine being captured by someone who cares for her yet unlike Persephone and those who do not believe in Heaven, she does not grow to care for those who captured her.


Created with images by Michael Badger - "Persephone" • summonedbyfells - "THE GRAVE OF SYLVIA PLATH HUGHES"

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