Homeric Hymn to Demeter is one the myth that comes in the form of a poem and can have numerous literal interpretations. This poem tells about the lord of the underworld known as Hades that abducted the goddess, the daughter of the god of grains. Literally, the poem tells the story of Persephone and the way she was kidnapped and the efforts that her mother had to go through to force the other gods to make the underworld god allow Persephone to be released. Demeter was the greatest god of the grain in greek and was responsible for the wines because she could give the grape to the people (Morford and Lenardon 155). After the god of the underworld kidnaped her daughter, she had to do something about it. This mythology explains the origin of many things including the seasons that eventually led to the summer and winter.
Despite being a lengthy poem, Homeric Hymn to Demeter gives the most crucial information about Demeter and Persephone and is one of the most extended standing classical mythical stories in literature.
Externalist and Internalist Interpretations of the Poem
This poem can be interpreted in many ways depending on the theme that the researcher or the reader is looking for. Some of the most common interpretations of the myth include the power of women and how women were valued in the past. The transition of women the external interpretations is that its the mythical interpretation of the seasons and the explanations as to why the people have different seasons with different weather and the changes in climate in the hymn to Demeter shows the ideal life of the women in the ancient Greek and what hey had to go through. Despite being a goddess, the daughter of demetre was kidnapped by the Greek undergoes (Foley, 24). This is an idea that was quite difficult to come in terms with especially considering the power that the goddess had. After being in the field to pick flowers, she was kidnapped to be the wife of the lord of the sea. This was a serious concern to the mother who had to find out the means of getting back the daughter. The explanation of the life of n ideal woman is the internal interpretation of this myth. The work contains the different narratives of differentiated stages within the life of a woman. There are women that re mortal and divine. On the other hand, some women are mortal. Nonetheless, they all go through the same stages and the same processes. Therefore, the gym is trying to show the commonalities that exist in the two genders in society. The other experiences that he hymn are exploring is the maidenhood and the motherhood that all the women, both the mortal and the divine have to go through at different stages of life. In the past experiences, the Greeks had the women excluded from their men. Hence, the relationship between the mother and the daughter was significant as they were always secluded from each other. The daughter also had to transition from the maiden to the mother in n imminent process. Persephone together with the other daughters of Keleose and Metaneira shows to be having similar qualities. They are at their youth stages; they undergo the same maiden process. Their relationships are also similar in many ways.
Several myth theories can be used to offer explanations to the mythologies. One of the theories is the nature-myth theory which is an externalistic way of interpretation. This is the belief that myth is a reaction towards the awe-inspiring power and the physical nature of the people’s experiences as they become part of the life cycles archetype and the transition from the day and night (Morford and Lenardon 161). The transition from the girl to a mother is the other life circle interpretation. The other circles are the summer and winter as well as the transition from life and death. The etiological theory of the mythos the other externalistic that shows that the myth is a primitive form of science. Hence, it attempts to explain natural phenomena and human conditions. An example is when Hesiod trie to explains how earth as formed. The theory of structuralism also gives the other view of the myth. From this perspective, the myth is a reflection of the binary organization and reasoning of the mind. This interpretation gives the division of ideas and occurrences into two opposites. The myths have the role of reconciling these two opposite poles. An example is when the earth is mediating between the savage and the civilized people. Etiology explains an occurrence; this is what takes place in the hymn by explaining the origin of the two seasons, autumn and winter. The cultural significance of the myth also comes from the myth and the origin of cultures that people have today. An example is the mother and daughter relationship that made the mother to go an extra mile to look for the abducted daughter. Psychological and metaphysical interpretation shos the two sides of the characteristic interpretation. There I the death and the rebirth of the daughter which are the two opposite ends of the metaphysics, struggle, and reconciliation is the other two polars.
In conclusion, myths have stood the test of time. They are the traditional methods that are used in telling stories and have been existence for the longest possible time. Some of these stories have come down to the most critical events in the society including the foundations of the nation or a community. Other myths tell stories about the great heroes and the great heroines and the processes that hey went through during their exploits to use courage against adversity. Nonetheless, some myths are just about the tales that also have reasons for people to read and hear about them. Homeric Hymn to Demeter is one of these examples.
Foley, Helene P., ed. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter: Translation, commentary, and interpretive essays. Vol. 63. Princeton University Press, 1994.
Morford, Mark PO, and Robert J. Lenardon. Classical mythology. Oxford University Press, USA, 1999.