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It's well known the story of Acrisius and Danae; Acrisius wants male children, and the oracle says he won't have any, but he'll have a grandson who kills him. So he locks Danae up in a prison, and Zeus impregnates her with a golden shower. Apollodorus 2.4.1:

When Acrisius inquired of the oracle how he should get male children, the god said that his daughter would give birth to a son who would kill him.49 Fearing that, Acrisius built a brazen chamber under ground and there guarded Danae.50 However, she was seduced, as some say, by Proetus, whence arose the quarrel between them51; but some say that Zeus had intercourse with her in the shape of a stream of gold which poured through the roof into Danae's lap. When Acrisius afterwards learned that she had got a child Perseus, he would not believe that she had been seduced by Zeus, and putting his daughter with the child in a chest, he cast it into the sea. The chest was washed ashore on Seriphus, and Dictys took up the boy and reared him.

But my question is, what did Danae want? Did she want to mate with Zeus, or was she raped? Did she go in her prison willingly or voluntarily?

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I do realise this may be more about history / sociology than about mythology per se...
I'm not really sure there is an actual answer to this, as a girl was subject to what her father (or later in life her husband) decided and her job was to comply.

Rape was not so much a crime against a woman as it was against her father or husband. In many of the myths, the author is utterly unconcerned with what the female characters want, feel or desire.
A notable exception is made when it comes to goddesses.

  • "Rape was not so much a crime against a woman as it was against her father or husband" Not entirely sure that was true in ancient Greece. – yannis Apr 30 '15 at 21:15
  • Could you cite a source for this (other than wikipedia)? – user62 Apr 30 '15 at 21:50
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    found this about rape and greek/roman times stoa.org/diotima/essays/rape_harris.shtml – anna v May 1 '15 at 3:32
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But my question is, what did Danae want? Did she want to mate with Zeus, or was she raped? Did she go in her prison willingly or voluntarily

It is a myth, within a culture where a woman was subordinate to the man, if not property of the man. Creating a personality for Danae means giving her an age. She was probably incarcerated at the signs of puberty. Would a child of 12 voluntarily go to prison, or decide to be pregnant?

Now if golden rain is rape its another story. If the rain passing through the cracks became a man, who knows? the poor child might be so happy to see a face that she would fall in love.

  • There's no evidence she was that young. Most art from the Renaissance of this scene has her much older. – durron597 May 1 '15 at 3:42
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    @durron597 The renaissance happened thousand of years after the society that created this myth was extinct. Girls were married off once they could bear children, 14 or so. If the prophesy came after puberty it would be too late, because she would belong to a husband and the story would be different. – anna v May 1 '15 at 3:47
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    @durron597 The picture is the imagination of the artist. anyway the 12 I used because a child of less age cannot become pregnant so could be free to roam the house. – anna v May 1 '15 at 3:57
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    Do you even have a citation that Acrisius received the prophecy before Danae entered puberty? I always assumed it was well after. – durron597 May 1 '15 at 4:01
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    @durron597 You have to think of the culture at those times. "The culmination of a young woman's socialization was her marriage , which usually took place at the age of fourteen or fifteen" metmuseum.org/toah/hd/wmna/hd_wmna.htm – anna v May 1 '15 at 4:12

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