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Theogony-Demeter And Hermes

Be sure to back up your answers with references to the text and refer to specific line numbers for each answer.

Also read: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


  1. A charter myth is a story that explains the origin of a ritual, custom, or social arrangement. Identify two places in the Hymn to Demeter that suggest that it is functioning as a charter myth.  Be specific: identify what is being chartered and state the line numbers where this occurs.
  2. What is Persephone doing when she is abducted? What is the symbolic significance of that activity?
  3. What is the compromise that is reached so that Demeter will relent in her anger and end the famine?
  4. There seems to be a rule that if you eat anything while in the underworld, as Persephone after Hades abducted her, you must return there. What does Hades force Persephone to eat?  Why do you think this particular food item was chosen?  If you do not know what pomegranate seeds look like, Google them.
  5. Female characters figure prominently in the story: Demeter, Persephone, Metaneira and her daughters, and Hekate. What reasons might there be for this emphasis on female characters in the poem?
  6. How are male characters such as Zeus, Hades, and Helios characterized?


  1. Where is Hermes born?
  2. Name two things that he does that are unusual for a baby.
  3. What is his ultimate goal in doing the things he does after he sneaks out?
  4. What kind of compromise is reached between him and Apollo?

More to read: Homeric Hymn to Demeter

Last Updated on March 5, 2021

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