They seem to be mostly interested in each other (Kore is looking at Triptolemus and Demeter's gaze is most likely meeting that of Triptolemus), wrapped up in a world of their own, quite distinct from the human votaries.
George Mylonas (1961) may be right in arguing that monuments like that depicting initiands in the presence of the goddess(es) are quite common from the fourth century BCE onwards, and that we should 'read' them with caution: not so much as depicting an initiation but more as a memoire of the initiands' pilgrimage to Eleusis or even as "a devotional act of worship." But the differences between the Triptolemus relief and that of the hierophant from Hagnous are remarkable.
(68.) In Clintons (2003, 88-90) most intricate reconstruction, every sacred official has a different role: the two hierophantides would be impersonating the two goddesses, the hierophant would play the role of Triptolemus, and the dadouch would impersonate Eubouleus.
Demeter also alludes to her nursing and curing of sick infants to the amazement of their own mortal mothers (55-57), recalling both her nursing of Demophoon in the Homeric Hymn and of Triptolemus
in Ovid's Fasti.
reducere: Et, quod Triptolemus olim fertur, sed longe nobiliorem Cereali illa .
There is one straightforward classical connection, however, and that is Milton's especial mention early on in the text of Triptolemus, and his divine patron Ceres.
According to Isabelle and Antony Raubitschek in a essay written in 1982 'after the Persian Wars representations of the mission of Triptolemus on vases became frequent', and were perhaps an 'acknowledgment of the aid given by the Eleusinian deities to Athens at Marathon and Salamis', as well as a display of 'gratitude for Demeter's gifts to Athens, and through Athens, to the world'.(7) These vase paintings were rendered 'by distinguished artists working in the best workshops during the period between the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars'.(8) There is also evidence from the literature of the period.
Thus it seems that Milton has constructed an original metaphor from the myth of Triptolemus, the culture bearer, of the orator planting seeds for a future harvest of virtuous living and political freedom among his fellow human beings.
In gratitude for Eleusinian hospitality, Demeter gave a bag of seeds to Celeus ' son Triptolemus
and sent him in a chariot by winged dragons throughout the world to plant grain and teach its culture.
In its climax, which takes place in late summer or early autumn, the title character becomes a grieving Demeter, Cocoa the resurrected Persephone, and George the divine Triptolemus