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Making beauty out of tragedy: the tears of Aphrodite

Making beauty out of tragedy: the tears of Aphrodite

Making beauty out of tragedy: the tears of Aphrodite

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My new novel is entitled Aphrodite’s Tears. Most readers will know of Aphrodite – the Greek goddess of love. But why in my book title is she crying?

Aphrodite’s Tears is set on Helios, a small island in the Ionian Sea that is privately owned by the Lekkas family. Theirs is a story straight out of the Greek tragedies.

Damian Lekkas, the hero of the story, was the son of Hephaestus and a woman named after Aphrodite. Over time, Aphrodite, who was beautiful and charming, grew bored of Hephaestus, who was hardworking but rather dull, and was drawn to his brother, Ares: strong and handsome and something of a playboy.

Den vazoun mia asfaleia para poly konta sti fotia, don’t put a fuse too near a fire, goes the Greek proverb, because from a little spark a mighty flame might burst – and so it did. Aphrodite and Ares fell passionately in love. When Hephaestus found out, he went crazy with rage. He burst in on the lovers, surprising them in bed, shot them both dead and then turned the gun on himself, leaving Damian and his brother Pericles orphans.

Since then, I write in the novel, ‘People say on rainy nights in winter, if you listen carefully, you will hear Aphrodite sobbing, the sound trembling on the wind. They say when it rains that it’s tears for her children pouring down on to the island.’ 

So, Aphrodite’s Tears refers to that watchful presence; a mother yearning for her son to find happiness and a family of his own. But the theme of Aphrodite’s tears also draws upon the story of Aphrodite and Adonis from Ancient Greek mythology.

Adonis was one of Aphrodite’s lovers. He was not a god, but a mortal who had been raised by Persephone, the queen of the Underworld. He was a handsome young man, and both Aphrodite and Persephone vied for his affections, until Zeus intervened. The thunder god decreed that Adonis would spend a third of his year with Aphrodite, a third with Persephone, and the remaining third as he wished. Adonis chose to spend his free time with Aphrodite.

The two were in love, but tragedy struck: one day, while out hunting, Adonis was gored by a boar. The beast had been unleashed by the jealous Ares, god of war and another of Aphrodite’s lovers. Aphrodite rushed to Adonis, but there was nothing she could do to save her mortal lover.

Aphrodite held Adonis in her arms as he bled to death. As she cried over her beloved, her tears fell into the pools of blood around them, and they were transformed through her love: from those tears mingled with the blood there bloomed the most beautiful anemone flowers.

I love the symbolism in this scene: out of sorrow grows new life. That is the theme at the heart of my novel Aphrodite’s Tears. From tragedy and hardship can come new beginnings, beauty. Hope.

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TREKnRay
TREKnRay
3 years ago

Thanks for posting this story.