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Demeter and Dionysus

The two great gods of the earth
by

Emma .

on 13 September 2012

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Transcript of Demeter and Dionysus

Demeter and Dionysus The Two Great Gods of the Earth The two great gods of the earth, Demeter and Dionysus are both known for their human emotions. As goddess of agriculture and motherly love, Demeter is associated with the pain of losing a child, and Dionysus is associated with blind rage and ecstasy, being the god of wine. In the myth of Demeter and Persephone, Demeter is heartbroken when her daughter Persephone is stolen. Being the goddess of motherly love, Demeter loved her daughter more than anything. Persephone was a happy child, where she walked flowers bloomed and she was so radiantly beautiful even dark Hades of the Underworld noticed her. One day while walking in the fields Persephone stayed from her mother to hunt down an interesting new flower. Hades opened up hole in the field to the Underworld and dragged Persephone down in his dark chariot. Her screams alerted her mother to the danger, but by then it was too late. The hole had closed up leaving no scar on the ground for poor Demeter to find. Bent with grief, she asked a nearby swine- herd if he had seen what happened to her daughter. His answer was no. Demeter disguised herself as an old woman and journeyed to the western end of the world to ask the sun god, Helios, if he had seen anything that day. She made nothing grow out of her grief for Persephone. When she asked Helios if he had seen her daughter, the sun god replied that he had seen Hades drag Persephone down to the Underworld. Demeter was furious with Zeus, her brother the king of the gods, for he must have seen Persephone, and he did nothing. She stalked up to Olympus, the home of the gods, and demanded to see Zeus. Once there, she argued for Persephone's freedom, saying she was a goddess of flowers and that she had no business in Hades’ dark house. Zeus agreed to bring her back to Olympus. While in the Underworld, Persephone was beginning to enjoy herself. Hades had given her magic flowers that grew without sunlight, and the dead souls obeyed her as queen. She missed her mother and sunlight, but Persephone grew to like grim Hades even though she could eat nothing unless she wished to remain in the Underworld forever. When Hermes, the messenger of the gods, arrived in the Underworld Persephone was overjoyed to see him and asked his business in Hades’ home. He replied that he had come to take her back to Demeter, and Persephone left the Underworld without a second thought. Once on Olympus it was revealed that Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, and was ordered to stay in the Underworld for six months of the year. While Persephone is in Olympus, Demeter rejoices and the world blooms, but when Persephone must return to her king, the world lies dead for Demeter’s grief. This myth is used to explain the four seasons, fall and winter being when Persephone is stuck in the underworld, and spring and summer being the time when she’s with her mother. Dionysus was another god that was known for understanding humans well, as he started as a half human himself. Before Dionysus was born, his mother, Thebian princess Semele, bragged far and wide how she had a god for a lover, Zeus himself, the king of the gods. Jealous Hera, Zeus’ immortal wife, heard these claims and disguised herself as an old woman to visit Semele’s palace. She convinced Semele that she should ask Zeus to show himself in his immortal form, to prove that he was a god, not a random straggler. Dionysus was raised far away from Olympus so Hera would never guess Semele’s son had survived. He grew up with leopards and tigers for playmates. Once he left the valley to find his skill however Hera found him, and in a rage she ordered the Titans to tear him to pieces. Rhea, Zeus’s mother,found him and put him back together. Afterward he learned how to make wine by pressing grapes and fermenting the juice. This earned him many followers; wild drunk men and women, and satyrs, half man half goat combinations. God’s immortal forms are so radiant they incinerate all humans who look upon them. Semele forgot this and told Zeus if he loved her, he would show her his god form. He did, knowing it would kill her, for he had sworn an unbreakable oath. Zeus managed to save their unborn son and sew him into his calf. From there he sprung, as the new god, Dionysus. Eventually he was invited up to Olympus as a new god. At first Hera refused to admit him because he was half mortal, but Zeus commanded that she sit down. Hestia, goddess of the hearth, gave up her throne to Dionysus, saying that she needed only the hearth at the center of the room. Demeter and Dionysus are both gods of the earth and also the gods that understand human emotion the best, Demeter because she understands a mother’s frantic love and protection for her child, and the grief of a lost one, and Dionysus because he used to be half human, and he also understands the powerful mood swings that come with wine. They are also both associated with rebirth, -Persephone is forever in and out of the Underworld, and Dionysus was also ripped to bits and put back together. Plants go through a cycle of seeming death in the winter time and rebirth in the summer. Both Dionysus and Demeter are associated with plants, Demeter the growing of and Dionysus the using of. Both are powerful gods of the earth with many common themes. and Emma Almanzar Alice Hough
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