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2019 AP Literature Mythology Project - Poseidon, Hades, Persephone

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Good morning, my children! Welcome back to AP Literature Kindergarten. Everyone take their seats, It's time for our greek mythology lesson. We will start where we left off. Ah, Poseiden. Or "Neptune" in roman mythology. God of the sea. Oooooo- ooOOWHOA is that a GIANT fork!? He must eat REALLY big spaghetti bowls. That is no fork, my dear children. That is Posiden's most symbolic weapon, the Trident. It was forged by the cyclops that he, Zeus, and Hades freed from Tartarus as a token of their gratitude. Cyclops? That's the big, one eyed man, right? Polf-? Pol- Polyphemus. Yes, he is a Cyclops. He's the son of Poseidon, in fact. *collective confusion* Yes, Poseidon did have a knack for having... peculiar children. For example, his son Trident, half man half fish. And another one of his offspring, Pegasus, was a flying horse. *more kindergarten confusion* *laughs* Let's get back on track. Poseidon, while the mighty god of the sea, often caused trouble in the mortal world because of his... short temper. What do you mean, Ms. Oracle? Well... there was an incident where Poseidon flooded the city of Athens (Attica) after he lost to Athena, goddess of wisdom, in a competition to see who could create the best gift for the Athenians. And another time when he placed a sea monster in the waters of Troy After the king of Troy refused to pay Poseidon (for his labors). And probably one of his most infamous acts of cruelty- He made the king of Crete's wife fall in love with prized bull that he refused to sacrifice to Poseidon. *completely lost* All stories for another time. How about we move on to our next god of subject who- Hades! -is also the brother of Poseidon. ...Hades. :D *laughs* That is right, my child. Hades, also known as "Pluto" in roman mythology, God of the Underworld, brother of Poseidon and Zeus. Wait- does he live in the Underworld too? He does, my child. He oversees all of the Underworld, With servants to help him. The furies, fates and Cerberus all serve Hades and help him maintain order. The furies... the fates... and... which one is Cerberus? *kiddos "Aaaww" in unison* That's a really big puppy~ You could say that. Cerberus guards the gates to the Underworld. Though the underworld guard dog might be the least of your worries if you're trying to get in or out. There are many dangers in the Underworld. For example, the River of Styx which divides the living earth from Hades' kingdom. He doesn't have a big fork like Poseidon does. Well, like Poseidon, the cyclops also forged Hades a gift of thanks for freeing them. While Hades did not receive a trident, he did receive the helm of darkness which turns its wearer invisible. Ooooo... Who's that pretty lady next to Hades? Does Hades have a... Girlfriend~? *laughs* His wife, my children. Her name is Persephone, and she rules the Underworld alongside Hades. She's so... flowery. And naturey. What does she do, garden? Well, Persephone wasn't always the goddess of the Underworld. Before she joined Hades, she and her mother Demeter ruled in the overworld as goddesses of wheat and harvest. Wait... so how did Persephone even end up in the Underworld? Well, you see my child... A lonesome and lovestriken Hades fell in love with the young and beautiful Persephone who was a contrast to the dark, gloomy kingdom he ruled. Aaaaaw... So lovestriken in fact, that Hades kidnapped Persephone one day and took her back to the Underworld to be his queen. ...whaaaaat? ...this man is desperate. When Persephone disappeared without a trace, her mother Demeter fell into a grief that affected the whole world. Crops would not grow, animals died, and devastating storms left the sky in a pitch black. *distressed noises* Well, in order to bring the world back to life, Zeus sent for Persephone to return from the Underworld in hopes that this would bring Demeter out of her slump. Thank goodness... But, the crafty Hades knew they would come for his queen eventually, and, in a deciding act, gave Persephone pomegranate seeds of the Underworld. *gasp* Only fruit for a snack? What a monster. See, when something is eaten in the Underworld, whoever consumed the item is forever drawn to the Underworld. So, since Persephone ate the pomegranate seeds- -she's stuck in the Underworld forever! Well, Demeter would not have this. So, in order to appease both Demeter and Hades, it was decreed that Persephone would stay in the overworld for 2/3 of the year with Demeter, and in the remaining 1/3, return to the Underworld with Hades. And, in this 1/3 of the year, Demeter falls back into a grief, making the weather cold, the sky cloudy, and the trees barren. Wait... that kinda sounds like- -Winter! That's right my children. According to the story, we have seasons based around Persephone. While she is in the Underworld, Demeter's grief brings winter. And while she is in the overworld, reunited with her mother, we enjoy spring and summer. [Part 2 - Allusions/Pop Culture] So, now that we have learned about the original Poseidon, Hades, and Persephone, can you think of other medias where you might have seen these gods? Percy Jackson! That's right, that's always the popular one. So, let's start out with the obvious god in Percy Jackson, Poseidon. How is he different in the series than in the original greek mythology? Well.. I liked him a lot more in Percy Jackson. Did you not like him in the original mythology? He was just really scary. Yes, he is more likable as "the proud dad of Percy Jackson" rather than "the wrathful god of the seas". So, we could say that he is... a lot more humanized and quirky in stories like Percy Jackson Like the "Little Mermaid". Isn't Ariel's dad Poseidon? I believe that's Triton actually, so... the son of Poseidon. *gasp* Triton.. OMG Aquaman! *silence of Marvel fans* ...the trident was his main weapon. Oooh, I see. So you see children, there are many different stories in popular culture that adopt aspects of Poseidon. So, how about Hades in Percy Jackson? What is he like? He's still mean. He's not mean, he's just doing his job! People can't go to the Underworld as much they want, not even heroes like Percy Jackson. So we can say that a similarity in Hades is his dedication to the Underworld. And in pop-culture, an emphasis on Hades being "mean". No, he's just always portrayed as the bad guy... like in Disney's film "Hercules". That does seem to be a misconception about Hades. In greek mythology, Hades is just occupied with his duties in the Underworld and is rarely power hungry. Ooo, ooo, ooo! What about Persephone? She's in Percy Jackson too, but her marriage with Hades seems pretty okay in the book. That's the interesting about mythology pop culture. The original myths don't usually go into depth about how the characters feel in the stories so works like Percy Jackson fills in the gaps, such as Persephone and Hades' relationship. However, other works can fill in those gaps differently. For example, "Hadestown", a musical on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. It portrays Hades' and Persephone's relationship more of an unhappy marriage. Even the explanation of Persephone's kidnapping story is different because the myth can be very broad. (end of 1st period be like) Okay, my children. You've done very well today. You may begin your 15 minute recess now if you'd like. Wait, wait. Can we look at the book a little more? *little kid pleading* Okay, my children. Come up, let's read it together. [Part 3 - Universal Application/Modern Relevancy] So, since we talked about Poseidon, Persephone, and Hades in our little skit, we'd like to go over their significance and what we saw in their stories. So first, would be Poseidon- and what we got from it is that Poseidon's temper tantrums are only okay because he's so powerful in Greek society because they honor sea faring so much. So in a way, Poseidon not only represents this great god, but he represents the peoples' need to worship and feel like they're under something, under some higher power, and I think that can relate to a lot of people even today where some people hold religion so dear. So, the idea of Poseidon can become more like an overarching religious figure. Poseidon is also representative of a human condition as he is represented in either a really good, happy, jolly mood with really high highs, or a really destructive, island destroying, god at his very low lows. Because of this, he is very representative of different types of emotions that humans can display rather than just 2D, flat character. So for Hades, the main significance that we all found when researching him is that he's more than just the "bad guy" in the film He's more than just "Oh, he's just an adversary!" or "a villain we need to defeat!" It's more of like... He was born into more unforeseen circumstances more than anything else. Instead of him choosing to make people suffer, and choosing to be representative of "death", He's kinda like- "This is what I was thrown into, so." He just had to work with what he had. He wasn't looking to make people suffer, that's just the worldly interpretation of him... He's [his story is] almost like... [impersonation of edgy teen lord] "I'm misunderstood, no one understands!" Not that he's like that, but he's always misrepresented, always misunderstood, just because he got the dirtiest of jobs, but, you know, someone has to look after the Underworld and all that. So, that's not only a commonly theme in pop-culture, but also just in his myth in general. It was common superstition that Greeks couldn't say Hades name or else they would summon him and stuff like that. So, just his story in general can be related to just about anyone and how they're misrepresented or misunderstood. That can actually go back to jobs nowadays, like those who do "lesser work" or "menial jobs" they're saying "Oh, don't mention them, they're this, they're that" and there's this, like you said, a preconceived notion of someone that you don't know or don't understand and maybe they didn't have choice. We're gonna move into Persephone, so- the main give away for Persephone is "Oh! Her story is used to portray why we have seasons" but in a deeper context, the story of Persephone's kidnapping also known as "The Rape of Persephone" can be traced back to when young daughters were married off early to suitors, and how Demeter reacted with despair and grief can be symbolism for the sadness of a young maiden having to be torn away from her family because of traditions. Although that's not as specific to today it can also relate to how you may gain family through marriage, it can feel like you have family members being torn away from you because of certain situations of like what happened to Persephone. And that can be indicative of feminist movements. It's this idea of "I'm not a commodity. I'm not a fantasy or an image you may see, I am a being." And I think that that's something that Persephone was- she was really put in that box of being this thing that you could put on your shelf. And I think it really begs people to look at people as more parts of a whole, because it's interesting that Hades, who claims to be so misunderstood and so unhappy with misconceptions about him misunderstands this young girl for something that he can take as his own. So I think it also just tells people to just be aware and it's that age old thing of "treat others how you want to be treated". Just greek mythology as a whole, it's really indicative of how women aren't really seen in the most positive light. Which also, again, relates back to the feminist movement. Which is something that, in early works of literature, when greek mythology can be used, it wasn't seen as such. It was seen as a token of sorrow or pity rather than something to be seen as strength or a positive. Thank you, everyone~!

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Posted by: kataivory on Nov 10, 2019

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