The Danaide was originally conceived as part of The Gates of Hell but was eventually omitted from the final design. The work was inspired by the story of the daughters of Danaus, taken from Greek mythology.
In this myth, Danaus, the son of the King of Egypt, had fifty daughters named the Danaides. His brother Aegyptus had fifty sons. Threatened by his brother, Danaus sailed to Argos with his daughters. The sons of Aegyptus pursued their cousins with the intention of marrying them and so furthering their power. The daughters were unwilling to marry but were forced to consent. Danaus therefore ordered his daughters to stab their husbands to death on their wedding night. Forty-nine obeyed their father, with only Hypermnestra sparing her beloved husband Lynceus. As a punishment for their crimes, the guilty Danaides were punished in the Underworld by having to try to fill broken vessels with water for eternity.