35.2 | Judith Hendriksma

Persephone Screams, and We Listen: An Analysis of Sound in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter

This paper analyses the thematic interactions with sound, dialogue, and the metapoetics of performance in the myth of the rape of Persephone as recounted in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. A product of the ancient Greek oral tradition, this text was meant to be performed, which is demonstrated in the stylistic as well as thematic aspects of the Hymn. However, the use of sound as a narrative vehicle conveys the emotional impact of Persephone’s story to a modern reading audience as well. This paper then demonstrates how sound, silence, and speech are employed in the Hymn to generate a visceral reading experience of Persephone’s abduction.