Two timeless love stories of the Greek Gods and Goddesses was the stories of Zeus and Hera, and Hades and Persephone. As you may know, Zeus and Hades were brothers, and Hera was their sister. During that era, it was okay to marry your family members. Zeus was the Greek God of the sky, who ruled over Olympus, and his wife Hera was the Goddess of women and marriage, while Hades was the God of the Underworld, and his wife Persephone was the Goddess of vegetation. The major difference of the two stories would be that Zeus cheated on Hera multiple times, while Hades remained loyal to Persephone, and Hera was jealous a majority of the time because of Zeus’ infidelity, and Persephone never had a reason to be jealous. The similarities would be that both relationships were unhealthy, and both women were tricked into marrying the Gods.
Zeus and Hades had many differences. One that stood out was, Zeus had many wives, and Hades was loyal to only Persephone. It is safe to say that Zeus was a womanizer. For a while, he was loyal to his wife, not seeing any other women, but as time went by Zeus was not devoted to his wife. He went around, courting different women including other goddesses, and mortals. “Zeus had many affairs with other goddesses and mortal women.” (para. 7) On the other hand, Hades never saw any other women other than Persephone. Once he fell in love with her, the only woman he really thought about was Persephone. “Not only did she have to spend merely a portion of each year with her husband and was closer to his equal than Hera ever was to Zeus’, but Persephone also married one of the few gods who was faithful.” (para. 7 Carter)
Another trait that was in both God’s love lives, is Hera was often jealous and angry at Zeus, while Persephone did not have to worry about Hades cheating on her. As previously stated, Zeus was always seeing different women, so Hera would get awfully jealous. “Zeus had many affairs with other goddesses and with mortal women, so Hera was awfully jealous.” (para. 7) Hades was one of the very few gods that never cheated on his wife. He was dedicated to only her, so Persephone had absolutely no reason to be jealous of him and any other women. “Persephone had no children by Hades, but she remained faithful to him—and saw that he remained faithful to her.” (para. 18 Osborn)
One similar trait that connect the Gods and Goddesses in the stories is that both relationships were unhealthy. For Zeus and Hera, they never agreed, and Zeus constantly cheated on her with many other goddesses and mortal women. Although, at the very beginning when they first were married, they got along well. “These two gods defy and challenge each other numerous times. Hera shows her social dominance over Zeus when she rejects his advances, on the grounds that they are siblings.” (para. 1 Ching) In comparison, Hades and Persephone didn’t have it the best either. It began when Hades captured Persephone, and dragged her to the Underworld with him. He forced her into marriage, and she soon unwillingly became his wife. Later on, Persephone actually did start to fall in love with Hades. “Persephone was very unhappy, but after much time, she came to love the cold-blooded Hades and lived happily with him.” (para. 5)
Another similarity would be that both Goddesses were tricked into marrying the Gods. Zeus tricked Hera, by turning into an injured cuckoo bird. Hera felt sympathy for the poor animal, and took care of it. Zeus then turned back into his godly form, and physically forced her to marry him. “Hera is Zeus' seventh and last wife. When Hera refuses Zeus' love, he insidiously takes advantage of Hera's maternal side by disguising himself as an injured cuckoo.” (Slater, 131) Hades also tricked Persephone into marriage. Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, who was a woman Zeus cheated on Hera with. Zeus and Hades made up a plan to secretly drag Persephone through the ground, to the underworld when nobody was looking. Persephone was then forced to marry Hades, the God of the Underworld. “Persephone was gathering flowers one day on a plain in Sicily. Hades suddenly appeared, thundering across the plain in his four-horse chariot. The god swooped down upon Persephone, scooped her up with one arm, and literally and figuratively deflowered her—leaving the plain scattered with blossoms of every color.” (para. 4 Osborn)
These stories have many differences and some similarities. Reviewing the stories, you can conclude that the marriages were not built on harmony and trust.
Thank you!! This was very helpful for my project on Greek Mythology!!:)
8th April 2016
Uhm, I think Hades cheated on Persephone maybe once or twice. I think it was Minthe or something, a nymph that Hades cheated Persephone with. When Persephone found out, she grew as tall as a giant, stepping on that nymph and wiping her foot on a field of leaves. That's why there are mint leaves. I guess....