Greek Mythology-- What was the deal struck between Demeter and Hades? Was it fair and why?

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ashcat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Demeter and Hades agree that they must share Persephone as they both love her dearly and neither one is willing to totally surrender her to the other.

When Hades took Persephone to the Underworld and refused to return her above-ground, Demeter unleashed her wrath on the world, submerging the earth in cold and darkness. Finally, Zeus intervened and ordered Persephone to be returned. However, by that time, Persephone had eating six pomegranate seeds and eating the food of the Underworld condemned her to remain there. However, Hades and Demeter agreed that, since Persephone had only eaten six seeds she would only remain with Hades for six months of the year and the other six she would spend above-ground with her mother. Demeter agreed, swearing that for the six months that Persephone was gone she would plunge the earth in cold and death, but for the six months that Persephone was returned to her, the earth would grow and thrive and be warm. This myth, essentially, explains why we have our seasons.

The deal can be viewed as fair since the split between Hades and Demeter is 50/50, but one must remember that Hades abducted Persephone and then coerced her to eat the pomegranate seeds. Also, Persephone is being treated like a possession by both her mother and lover, regardless of whether she is cared for or not. Then there is the added downfall that we have six months of cold weather. That doesn't seem fair at all.