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Laura Jane Wey

Lec6_sept26 Macpherson “Spring and Winter” “loves of the Gods & Metamorphoses” Spring and Winter  With exception of “Orpheus,” the stories in this unit all attempt to explain a phenomenon or object of nature o “Demeter and Persephone”: the cycle of seasons o “Adonis,” “Hyacinthus” and “Narcissus”: how various flowers (the anemone, the hyacinth and the daffodil) came to be  All the stories in “Spring & Winter” touch upon the theme of death o “Demeter and Persephone” and “Orpheus” both deal with the crossing of the boundary between life and death under very special circumstances o Even the gods themselves must respect this boundary o Demeter and Persephone associated with Eleusinian Mysteries; Orpheus associated with Orphic Mysteries “Demeter and Persephone”  based largely upon Hormeric Hymn to Demeter2 (7 thto 6th centuries BCE)  Pits the power of Demeter against the predominantly male alliance between Zeus and Hades o She is mainly motivated for her love toward her daughter and doesn’t want the distance between her and her daughter  Deadlock finally resolved through compromise o Made a compromise with Zeus, because without Demetre’s help, there is no agriculture and no food for the people or sacrifices for the gods o  Even Persephone and Demeter must abide by the rule that those who have eaten in the Underworld cannot leave it entirely Orpheus  is a talented musician  musician whose extraordinary talent gives him special powers: he makes “the thin shades [weep] in sympathy and the torments of the great sufferers… cease.”  He wins a special concession from Hades to take his dead wife Eurydice back to the upper world – on one condition  He turns back to glace at Eurydice, thereby losing her for the second time (“His trust in Hades failed…”) o Alternative interpretation in Ovid: “frightened that she might not be well and yearning to see her with his own eyes, through love he turned and looked..” o Alternative interpretation in Vergil:”a sudden frenzy seized the unwary lover – worthy of pardon, except by the pitiless Underwolrd – he stopped, and unmindful, alas, and overcome in spirit, looked back…”  No redo; although the power of Orpheus’ music continues to wreak miracles: “the animals forg[e]t to prey on one another… and trees and stubborn rocks [are] moved by his song”  Finally meets his death at the hand of the Maenads:”theybecame enraged and fell on him as an enemy of their god [Dionysus], and finally tore him to pieces” o Orpheus linked not just to Apollo, but also to Dionysus in Ovid: “Becchus did not permit this crime to pass/Unpunished, unavenged. Distressed to lose/ The minstrel of his mysteries, at once / He fastened in the
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