The Role of the Trickster God in Greek Mythology

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Alexis Young

The Role of the Trickster God in Greek Mythology Hades  Example of trickery in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter  Hades abducts Persephone by tricking her with the help of Zeus and Gaea who produces a narcissus flower  Persephone’s mother Demeter goes on a long search to find her daughter and eventually discovers what has happened  Zeus sends Hermes to retrieve Persephone from Hades but Hades tricks her into eating a pomegranate seed, forcing her to return to the underworld every year  Pomegranates symbolize fertility/marriage so by eating the seed, she becomes symbolically committed to Hades  The underlying motive of this trick is to capture Persephone as a bride for Hades in order to unite the world with the underworld  Also explains the changing seasons Zeus  Transformation was Zeus’s favourite device for tricking and seducing women  Zeus transformed into the image of Alcmene’s husband to seduce her and they produced Herakles  Zeus appears as a golden shower to seduce Danae and they produce Perseus  Zeus appears as a swan to seduce Leda and they produce Helen and Pollux  The underlying motive of his transformations is to have affairs with mortal women without facing the wrath of his jealous wife Hera to create semi- divine heroes  Zeus represents a powerful force using transformations and disguises Hermes  Archetypal trickster god  As a baby, he stole 50 cattle from Apollo in Pieria and through trickery, he leads the cattle backwards so that the tracks would look like they were going the opposite way  His motivation for
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