|“||Do you think it was my choice to wed a man I did not love? Live a life I did not choose? I was betrayed by the very gods that once saw me as their own. But no more.||”|
In Greek mythology, Persephone (Περσεφόνη), was the goddess of spring and was also the Queen of the Underworld. She was the daughter of both Zeus and Demeter, and quite favored by her mother. She was usually portrayed robed, carrying a sheaf of grain and smiling with the "Archaic smile" of the Kore of Antenor. The Romans called her Proserpina.
She was an innocent goddess who was abducted by Hades while she picked flowers in a field with Nymphs, at the behest of Zeus who advised and helped Hades kidnap Persephone. Demeter searched everywhere for her daughter for nine days, until she was informed by Helios of what happened. Despite Helios's attempts to reassure the goddess that her daughter's marriage was honorable, the seasons changed because of Demeter’s depression, and mortals began to starve because their crops were dying. Cries from the mortals' hunger forced the gods who heard their anguish to confront Zeus and Demeter. With Demeter telling them she would not give life to the crops and vegetation unless her daughter was returned, Zeus asked Hades to return Persephone, sending Hermes to retrieve her. Before doing so, however, Hades either tricked/forced Persephone into eating three pomegranate seeds or Persephone ate them herself, which seasons are based on Demeter's mood during each time of the seasons. Demeter begins to mourn that her daughter is going to Hades which creates Autumn, she griefs which creates winter, she is happy to have her daughter back which creates spring and finally she enjoys her daughter on earth which creates summer. Some stories claim that Persephone never loved Hades, but a more popular story states that Persephone ended up falling for Hades and in one story, Proserpina (Persephone) turned the nymph Minthe into a plant out of jealousy and anger for the poor nymph that tried to seduce Pluto (Hades). However, this never occurred in Ancient Greek mythology. Nonetheless, there was no notable bad-blood between Hades and Persephone In Ancient Greek mythology. Indeed, the Elysian Mysteries (Persephone’s main cult) believed that Hades and Persephone had a faithful and a loving marriage with each other. Persephone and Hades never had an “affair” in Ancient Greek mythology.
In the God of War Series
Persephone was the Queen of the Underworld and was the one responsible for orchestrating the events throughout the game. She had become bitter from caring over the fallen as well as her forced marriage with Hades and allied herself with the Dream God Morpheus and the mighty Titan Atlas, in hopes of destroying the world along with herself. This would be achieved by putting the Gods to sleep by Morpheus’ power and freeing Atlas, allowing him to capture Helios, the God of the Sun, and destroy the Pillar of the World which held the Earth and Olympus in place.
While chasing his deceased daughter, Calliope, in the Underworld, Kratos, the gods' servant, was met by Persephone and demanded to see his daughter. Persephone explained to Kratos that if he were to see his daughter, who fled to the Elysium Fields, he would need to prove himself worthy by giving up his power and weapons. Only then would he be granted passage into the Elysium Fields as well.
As he finally reunited with his daughter, Kratos realized he had been tricked by Persephone when she revealed her plot to destroy the world. Persephone no longer wanted to live because of the fact that she married a man she did not love, lived a life she did not choose, and that she was betrayed by the very Gods who called her their own. She would be at peace and be free from her miserable existence. She taunted Kratos over the fact that he could do nothing to save his daughter. Kratos angrily tried to attack Persephone, but she merely blasted him away.
Kratos gave up his chance to be with Calliope to regain his powers and weapons so that he might be able to stop Persephone. Transforming into a winged and armored form to combat the Spartan, Persephone flew up the Pillar of the World, which Atlas had already been in the process of destroying. With his blades, Kratos managed to follow Persephone by latching himself onto her. They battled atop the Pillar, where Persephone was aided by Atlas. However, Helios, being held in Atlas's hand, radiated the ray of light which Kratos used to weaken the goddess. He then smashed her to death with the Gauntlet of Zeus. In her last breath, she told Kratos that his suffering would never end. Her body then started to disintegrate releasing an incredible amount of energy, and Persephone, goddess of the Underworld, finally ceased to exist.
Her actions would later foreshadow Kratos' own actions in taking revenge against the Gods.
Persephone only briefly appears, as part of a puzzle. She, like Ares, is buried in a decorated coffin. Hades himself later mentions her death alongside Athena's and Poseidon's as one of the many grievances the Lord of the Underworld has against Kratos. Also, when Kratos battles Hades, it is within one of Persephone's grottoes, and her face is even engraved in the center of the floor where Kratos fights with Hades.
After Hades decided to kidnap Persephone, she was betrayed by the Gods and forced to wed her kidnapper. For this reason, she has come to bear a deep hatred towards not just Olympus, but the entire world. Her bitterness was so great that she was willing to manipulate others and commit suicide by destroying the world, her plan being to die in peace and bring the world down with her.
She claims to see herself in Kratos, due to their mutual suffering at the hands of the gods. Although she believes Kratos is selfish and weak, she shares this same personality trait, as shown by her desire to eradicate mankind completely. This makes her an exceptional villain, as she bears no personal vendetta against Kratos, but is simply trying to end her own misery.
Completely convinced that all life in the world was corrupted and evil, coming from her history of betrayal, she stopped at nothing to eradicate it, having no concern for her own life and no remorse for the dead that she had taken care of for far too long. Ironically, her actions foreshadowed Kratos' own path of vengeance as the world would suffer when he killed most of the Olympian Gods being plunged into non-ending chaos.
Persephone often possessed a mysterious and intimidating demeanor, incredibly pale likely from the time spent within the Underworld, she always held a distant look in her eyes as though she was disinterested with her surroundings. She wore part of her long black hair in a ponytail-like bun held together with a gold band while the rest was allowed to fall free down her neck.
She wore a long black strapless dress that trailed behind her that was split from her shoulders in a V-shape exposing most of her back and part of her buttocks. She also had several gold bands with blue gems locked around her arms and wrists, and two gold chains along her waist as a belt.
Powers and Abilities
In her final battle with Kratos, Persephone displayed numerous types of special abilities. Able to fly at great speed thanks to her sets of wings, she was able to deliver diving strikes at Kratos with her fists. Furthermore, Persephone could throw projectiles through telekinesis, as well as conjure large rocks to serve as projectiles. She could also summon multiple large pillars of energy that protruded from the ground, and shoot large beams of energy. As a goddess, she was immortal and had high resistance, enhanced senses, superhuman agility, stamina, speed, strength, durability, endurance, and accuracy
When she took her last breath, she released a death blast similar to but weaker than Ares that was potent enough to vaporize the very durable pillar of the world.
- Despite trying to destroy the world, herself and the gods, including her husband Hades, he still harbored great feelings of hatred towards Kratos for killing her. This was likely due to the fact that Hades was possessed by the evil, Hate, from Pandora's Box.
- According to the God of War II novel, Hades might have indirectly been in on her plan.
- She is the first out of four Gods (chronologically first) whose deaths cause their bodies to explode. The second was Ares, the third was Thanatos and the fourth was Athena.
- It's strange that we see her body explode at her death in God of War: Chains of Olympus also destroying the Pillar of the World, yet we see her corpse in God of War III, just like Ares. It is possible Hades had the means to restore a body no matter of the state that it was in.
- She was, chronologically, the second female antagonist in the God of War series. The first being Alecto.
- Persephone went unmentioned when Kratos informed Gaia of the deaths of Ares and Athena. One possible explanation is that Persephone is considered a lesser goddess.
- It's also likely that Helios was involved in killing her or removing her divinity. Persephone is invincible until blasted with the solar beam at the end of the fight.
- Kratos stated that Ares is the only god he's slain in God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Kratos probably left Persephone unmentioned due to the fact that she is a lesser goddess, and not an Olympian or Primordial entity.
- Persephone is one of the few gods that did not participate, and may not have been born yet, during the First Great War, which may explain Atlas joining forces with her as opposed to killing her.
- This makes her the first god in the series who was killed by Kratos, and did not participate in the Great War; the second is Thanatos.
- Persephone's act in attempting to destroy the world is extremely unfaithful with her original mythological self. Since in Ancient Greek mythology, while often being referred to as the “dread” goddess, Persephone often helped out the heroes that ventured to the underworld, such as Heracles and Orpheus. Even after becoming the queen of the underworld, she was still seen as a kind and a caring person, as well as a majestic and a proud queen. In Ancient Greek mythology, Persephone being abducted didn’t affect her negatively. More so, her worshipers from the Elysian Mysteries believed that she was happy with Hades.
- Persephone's death was similar to her half-brother, Ares. They were both impaled, had their last words before dying and their bodies exploded.
- She has some similarities and differences to the as-yet-unseen Norse Goddess of Death Hel, as both are Queens of their respective afterlives, but the main difference between them is that Persephone is the queen-consort of the Greek underworld, whereas Hel is the queen regnant of the Norse underworld.
- The two actually share the same family. Persephone was Kratos' half-sister and aunt by marriage, while Hel is his granddaughter.
- She is the first main antagonist of the series that Kratos kills not out of a personal vendetta but because he was forced to do so. The second was Baldur.
- It can be argued, however, that Kratos personally enjoyed killing Persephone, since she singled out his daughter as a target.