The Eleusinian Mysteries played a vital role in ancient Greece. Moreover, during the Hellenic era, these initiations became a major festival that was later exported as a cultural phenomenon to various parts of the Mediterranean and even encouraged a similar celebration in Ancient Rome. The initial idea behind the initiations originated from a series of old agrarian cults, which finally merged into a bright myth of the abduction of Persephone. Despite the important role of Persephone in the hymn, Demeter performs most of the actions that result in the establishment of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Demeter, being the goddess of agriculture and fertility, contributed significantly to the formation of several natural phenomena, according to the ancient myth. In order to successfully put on a play or to shoot a movie based on the hymn, a director should realize the deep symbolic meaning behind the abduction and Demeter’s actions.
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Despite the fact that Demeter is particularly famous for being the goddess of the harvest, agriculture, and fertility, she was also considered to be in charge of the entire cycle of life and death. Ancient Greeks, like many other peoples, associated the changing of the seasons with that cycle. Therefore, it is not surprising that Demeter and her daughter are the main characters in the hymn describing the myth of the seasons.
It is better not to set a screen version of the myth in a different time or place. Despite its deep philosophic meaning, the best way to convey the message and create the right atmosphere is still to show Ancient Greece. Therefore, shooting a film based on the story would require a significant amount of time spent on finding proper costumes. They should both resemble the typical ancient Greek clothing and correspond to the sphere that each god/goddess is in charge of. For instance, it is of major importance to use lively colors for Persephone. Hades should also be dressed brightly, with some golden details that could highlight the riches (minerals and metals) he possesses, as he is not merely a tyrant. Hades wants Persephone to be his wife, and in a way, it is clear that it is a part of her destiny.
All the deathless gods of Olympus should be brightly shown in the movie so that the viewers can recognize them before the characters start speaking. There is a number of gods who play an important role in the hymn. Thus, there is simply not enough time to introduce everyone. Their costumes and behavior should represent the sphere each of them is in charge of. Moreover, it is crucial to highlight the role of mediators in the hymn, as their ability to convince and negotiate is central to understanding the plot. Moreover, the movie should try to convey the complexity of the hierarchy on Olympus. The way ancient Greeks perceived the community of the gods provides an insight into the origins of some of their philosophic concepts and the evolution of political institutions.
A casting director should pay special attention to an actor playing Zeus, as this god needs to be portrayed in a specific way. According to Homer, he gave Persephone “to Hades his brother, who snatched her and carried her off” (80). Zeus initially does nothing to save his daughter from the Underworld. This episode should probably be shot in a way that illustrates Zeus’ wisdom. The Hymn to Demeter is one of the multiple myths that does not solely concentrate on the gods. Instead, it emphasizes the role they play in humans’ lives. The plot explains the way the gods altered people’s wellbeing by establishing a distinct cold season that is associated with death.
The script authors should not undermine the significance of Demophoon. The boy clearly shows that Demeter cares about humanity and is eager to assist if people show loyalty and obedience. The goddess is enraged when the process of blessing Demophoon is interrupted by his scared mother. The goddess exclaims “I would have made your dear boy ever free of death and age” (260). Nevertheless, the clear instructions she gives to people illustrate her good intentions. Moreover, Demeter states that Demophoon will flourish as a mortal. This scene should be set in a way that can covey Demeter’s compassion for humanity that, nevertheless, is accompanied by arrogance.
Moreover, it may be nice to choose an alternative description of the god’s attitude to humans. In most myths (at least, their interpretations), the gods do not seem to care much about mortals. Nevertheless, this hymn can be made into a movie that proves that ancient Greeks did not think they were not cared for by the gods. All the disasters that are caused by Demeter’s grief are mitigated when her daughter, Persephone, is finally allowed to leave the Underworld. She is then expected to “spend one-third of the circling year down in the murky gloom, by her mother passing two-thirds with the rest of the deathless gods” (447). According to Homer, Demeter was a “Bestower of Splendid Gifts” (192). Therefore, a harmony that comes with the cycle of life and death was gifted to humans by the gods. Moreover, Demeter’s attitude to Demophoon should illustrate the controversial relationship between gods and humans. Although gods do care about people and want them to prosper, they punish them severely for any disobedience and any type of behavior that challenges their authority.
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Nevertheless, the final scene of the movie should radiate positive energy. A great bright festival in Eleusis should be shown, emphasizing the importance of the Eleusinian Mysteries. The film should end with an old-school narrator’s voice that warns about the importance of performing the rites in order not to be deprived of similar festivals in the afterlife (480). The shift in the attitude to life after death can also be a great topic covered in the movie, as people no longer perceived the Underworld solely as a gloomy place. Persephone living there gives hope to humanity and symbolizes the direct bond between death and life. The perception of death and human life should be the key issues in the movie.
The ancient Greek civilization provided the West with numerous ideas and philosophic concepts that serve as a cornerstone of modern Western society. Therefore, there has long been a great demand for movies that seek to interpret the evolution of worldview in this ancient civilization that later allowed for numerous advances. People’s strive for optimism is an essential part of progress. Therefore, this highly illustrative myth should definitely be made into an inspiring movie. It can help people realize that humans have always desired to feel enthusiastic about afterlife and the cycle of life and death.