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Author Topic: Rape in Greek Mythology  (Read 61204 times)
Senior Apprentice
Last Login:July 04, 2011, 08:56:41 pm
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Religion: ADF Dedicant; Follower of Persephone
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« Reply #11: March 29, 2011, 10:52:20 pm »

I'm not sure about rape in ancient Greek society itself, or sexual assault for that matter, but when it comes to the myths and stories, I think personal interpretation needs to come into account too when judging how right or wrong or whatever the Gods were in relation to rape.

For example, I'm very closely tied to the Persephone story, as She is a Patron if mine...and I've read many versions of the story, and though it is generally accepted that yes, Hades "raped" Persephone...I can't help but come to a personal conclusion that the whole affair wasn't at least somewhat mentally consensual...I believe strongly (based on my readings of the myths, and my personal connection with Persephone) that She wanted to eat the pomegranate seeds and that she had some feelings of attraction for and interest in Hades - she wanted to stay with Him, in the end. I think the entire "snatching Her away" thing is rape in the sense that it was violent and sudden, and perhaps not exactly what Persephone may have wanted at that moment, but the relationship that developed between the two because of it - both sexually and mentally - ends up as one of mutual attraction and desire. Persephone eventually desired to know more of the Underworld, and desired to marry Hades...perhaps it began as a scary, weird journey for Her, but I believe it ended more positively.

Now, this is, of course, a personal opinion. However, it is a personal opinion based on research as much as introspection. Certain re-writings of the story seem more right to me. I fully admit that rape (mostly in the sense of abduction) was definitely a part of it...but the end result was not necessarily an evil thing.

Rape as a whole, among the Gods, works in a similar way for me. I find that, personally, I feel that much more goes on between Them, and between Them and humans, than all the myths can account for accurately, or fully. We were not present for these happenings, being from the modern age, and we have only what old texts and writings can provide for us, as well as whatever personal relationships with the Gods we can form. How much of the myths are literally true, too, is always up to interpretation. I believe that whatever rape happened, if it truly was rape, was a much more complex issue than perhaps we can ever really know. Who knows if the women Zeus raped truly didn't love Him in some way, or found Him alluring, or were upset with His techniques for getting them into His bed? Maybe they were, maybe they weren't, or maybe some of both. Words tells us things, but authors can slant details or things can be lost in translation...

Now, I'm also somewhat of a romantic. I'm sure there were things that went on that were less than admirable - a wonderful trait of the Greek Gods is that they are somewhat human too, and do not always make the best decisions. But again, myths and stories and relationships with Gods can be interpreted differently among people. Some common threads and themes will hold true for many, but in general, I just sort of go with what feels right to me.


"...Read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."
— Walt Whitman

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