"Sad-eyed lady, should I wait?" : a comparative exploration of classical and twentieth century Persephones
Mariah T. Lapiroff
May 6, 2013
Department or Program
David A. Lupher
Written record of the Persephone myth spans from the 8th century in Ancient Greece, beginning with Hesiod's Theogony and extending up through contemporary English literature. Over the years, western authors have presented allusions, new interpretations, and new representations of the Persephone myth – yet themes of fertility, mortality, gender roles and the paradoxical contrasts of Persephone's character permeate throughout receptions of the myth. This thesis explores the best known classical presentations of the myth, The Homeric Hymn to Demeter and the two versions from Ovid's Metamorphoses book 5 and Fasti book 4. In comparison with these classical works, this thesis examines three twentieth century poems: D.H. Lawrence's "Bavarian Gentians," Sylvia Plath's "Two Sisters of Persephone" and Bob Dylan's "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands." By incorporating Persephone into their works, both the classical and the modern authors, reveal interest in Persephone's power and autonomy.