“The river god Alpheus fell in love with Arethusa….Arethusa fled to Ortygia, where she was changed into a spring.”
I am curious about why so many “love” stories in Greek mythology sound like this. The female always flees her male lover.
Is the flight somehow needed to explain the location of a geographical element (in this case a spring) or a natural element (often a flower) that a woman is turned into? Is there any symbolism behind the woman becoming a part of nature, almost as if she is using camouflage as a survival strategy?
Or is it because the pursuit is less the pursuit of a lover and more the pursuit of a rapist?
Or, is this an ancient example of a woman “playing hard to get”?
My understanding of ancient tales of love is very clouded, though, by the Western romantic tradition.