Date of Award

12-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

Greek mythology never strays very far from Western imagination. Though every few years literature involving the infamous Gods tapers off into the back of our collective minds, a resurgence soon follows. The late Romantic literary movement (as popularized by Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelly, and John Keats) depended heavily upon Greco- Roman mythology to help illustrate characters that existed somewhere between the shadow of imagination and the truth of humanity. Perhaps in an attempt to harken back to Romanticism, contemporary poetry has once again given life to the Greek Gods. Mythological characters can be seen throughout the works of modern poets, and perhaps none so popular as Persephone, Goddess of Spring and Queen of the Underworld. She has become a proverbial battleground for narratives of consent and free sexuality. Yet, poets trying to alter one version of her story, traced back to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, end up making her a caricature instead. By centering Persephone’s representation only on her rape and abduction, authors fail to subvert her problematic, questionable origins, and instead remain in a constant, futile struggle with it.

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