Title of Abstract: The Rape of Persephone: An Ancient Tragedy Becomes a Modern Romance
Name of Mentor: Barbara Weiden Boyd
Mentor’s Organization or Department: Department of Classics, Bowdoin College
Research Abstract: I spent the summer researching in preparation for my honors project in the Classics Department. My honors project will focus on deconstructing and analyzing our modern view of the Ancient Greek/Roman myth of Hades and Persephone. Our modern adaptations of this myth have become increasingly popular in recent years; from best-selling novels, to a Tony-winning musical, to a world-famous comic series, and more. We are drawn, not only to retelling this myth in a variety of formats, but also to rewriting the original narrative of rape and captivity into a romantic relationship. It is not a question of “if” but “how” these modern authors and artists will morph the characters within the myth to create a new story where Hades isn’t a rapist or a villain—but a love interest. What does this shift in narrative say about our culture? Is this change a natural one, as myth is constantly being rewritten? Or is this a problematic sugar-coating of what was originally a story about sexual violence?