Hades, the king of the underworld, “chose” Persephone to be his bride and rule over the dead with him before asking permission of the gods to abduct her. Hades broke through the earth and abducted Persephone while she picked flowers. Only after her mother, the goddess of the harvest, wiped out the crops did the gods tell Hades to return Persephone to her mother. The bright petals in lifeless fields represent both the lack of crops and the wildflowers left behind by Persephone that told her mother she had been abducted. Persephone is originally named Kore (maiden) and is later named Persephone (destruction). Essentially, Persephone’s entire identity was her virginity and after being raped and taken into the underworld, her identity was rebuilt around her rule of the underworld. The next stanza states that only one can be stained red between fingers and sheets. This is a pretty graphic line but it’s essentially saying the way Perephone’s story is treated says that either she was raped and kept in the underworld against her will or that she chose to eat pomegranate seeds to stay in the underworld. So either the sheets are stained with blood or her fingers are stained from the pomegranate. In the end, Persephone rules over the underworld and because of this, he marriage to Hades is often romanticized. Women being in love or falling in love with their abusers is something people use to justify rape and the debate over whether she chose to stay in the underworld is very reminiscent of the “that means she wanted it” arguments. Persephone conquers death by being able to rule over the underworld and leave for a portion of the year but this does not justify her rape or abduction.