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Ancient Love: What Persephone And Hades Can Teach Us About Relationships

The next article in this series of mythological relationships is on Persephone and Hades’ relationship. So far, Zeus and Hera’s relationship was filled with red flags and Aphrodite and Ares’ relationship was flawed because Aphrodite wasn’t true to herself. Just as Aphrodite and Ares stood in direct opposition with one another, so do Persephone and Hades. Hades, God of the Underworld, is famously known for living in a dark place away from the land of the living. Persephone was Goddess of Agriculture, and lived in the land of the living with her mother, Demeter. So already these two deities are from completely different places, and literally live at opposite ends of the world.

Let’s break down Hades and Persephone’s relationship:

  1. Hades is a legit stalker

According to mythology, Hades first fell in love with Persephone when he saw her picking flowers in a meadow. This is a massive red flag. Hades literally demonstrated stalkerish behaviour by falling in love with a woman he had never met, and from afar. This stalkerish behaviour wouldn’t be half as bad if he didn’t act on these stalkerish impulses. Essentially, in mythology, Hades is being presented as a predator and Persephone as his prey.

2. Hades kidnapped Persephone

After falling in love with Persephone, Hades kidnapped her in his chariot and forced her to live with him in the Underworld. Again, another red flag. Kidnapping is 100% a no go in relationships, or indeed in life too.

The mythological Underworld is stereotypically described as a dark place. If we equate this to 21st century terminology, Hades effectively kidnapped Persephone and locked her in a cave/dungeon. I think it’s safe to say this is a form of abuse.

Hades isn’t really doing very well.

3. Demeter searched the earth for Persephone

After Persephone had been kidnapped, Demeter (her mother), searched the earth for her lost daughter. Eventually Demeter is told what happened to her daughter. Not only had Hades caused pain to Persephone, he also caused distress to Demeter. If Hades really wanted to be with Persephone, he should have taken the time to get to know her and Demeter too. By not doing this, it shows his self-obsessive behaviour and lack of concern for others.

4. Demeter creates a drought

As a result of finding out about Persephone’s fate, Demeter created a drought to convince the other gods to force Hades to release Persephone. The drought killed lots of people and eventually Zeus sent Hermes to persuade Hades to release Persephone.

Whilst there’s no 21st century comparison to this, it shows Hades is willing to let people die in order to get what he wants. Congrats again Hades, here’s another red flag. Hades has no compassion, isn’t practical and lacks emotional intelligence.

5. Hades drugs Persephone

Hades reluctantly gave up Persephone, but at a cost. Hades placed a pomegranate seed in Persephone’s mouth, because he knew the divine taste would force her to return to Hades. Essentially, Persephone is drugged by Hades. If you have to drug the person you’re in love with, you’re probably not meant to be together.

Congratulations Hades. You’ve got the most red flags!

6. Compromise

As a result of Hades drugging Persephone, a compromise was made. According to mythology, Persephone would be released from Hades if she spent one third of the year with him (some accounts say half a year). A relationship that continues with a compromise, after everything that has happened, is definitely not a healthy relationship.

My advice to Persephone and Hades: find other people.

Conclusion

I think it’s safe to say that Hades certainly is not relationship material. The numerous amount of red flags symbolise that this is not a healthy relationship. Everything Hades did was morally wrong. It’s never described in mythology as to whether Persephone was happy or not, or that she fought back or willingly went along. But you’d like to think Persephone actively tried to get herself out of this situation.

What can we learn from Persephone and Hades?

Ultimately, by analysing Persephone and Hades’ relationship, we can learn that those who are selfish and lack concern for others, create toxic and unhealthy relationships.

I'm the Sex and Relationships Editor for Exeter and a third year student studying Classical Studies and English with a passion for literature, art and film!
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