Friday, September 30, 2011

Michael Gagarin on Medea

I found it interesting in the article, "Flow Backwards Sacred Rivers", that it seems that Euripides was following a pattern when it came to making the subordinate female into a dominant figure. Sophacles did it with Antigone, Aeschylus did it with Clytemnestra... Why did these poets have the desire to finally let the female character speak up? Was it a change in the culture? Did they finally realize that women were being oppressed?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Teaching Euripides' Medea

I found this article by the same guy who wrote On Teaching Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and I thought its was pretty interesting. I just read bits and pieces but I think a lot of what he has to say is pretty accurate. I really like how he shows the various aspects of Medea's character and at the end he says that Medea really is the ultimate performer putting on which ever persona she needs to gather sympathy (Jason and Aigeus) or empathy (the women of the chorus) from the people she is conversing with. Medea truly was clever.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Creon vs. Kreon

I looked up the difference between Creon and Kreon. This is what I found (keep in mind that the Creon in Antigone is the same as the one in Oedipus):

Are they the same?

No, Creon in 'Medea' wasn't the same as Creon in 'Antigone'. In the first case, Creon was the King of Corinth and the father of Princess Creusa. Both father and daughter were killed by Medea, who didn't want to let go of her husband Jason.
In the second case, Creon was the King of Thebes. He also was the father of Megara and thereby father-in-law to Heracles. He was killed by Lycus, who was Nycteus' brother. Nycteus was the father of Nycteis, who married Theban King Polydorus. Their son, Theban King Labdacus, was the father of Theban King Laius, who married Creon's sister Jocasta.

I hope this helps.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I looked up a synopsis of Antigone since I had never seen the play. 

My summary:
Basically, Creon, the king, wants to bury Etocles properly (he was on his side) and humiliate Polyneices (rebelled against him). Antigone wants to bury Polyneices properly even though it is against Creon's orders. She does anyways and Creon figures out that it was Antigone. Ismene also commits to the crime to die alongside her sister. He decides to spare Ismene and bury Antigone alive in a cave. Tiresias prophesies that Creon will lose a son, because he did not properly bury Polyneices and left Antigone to die underneath the Earth (which is apparently bad). Creon, afraid, decides to bury Polyneices and release Antigone. Eventually, Creon's son Haemon kills himself, because initially Creon would not listen to him to try and save Antigone's life. Also, Antigone and Eurydice (Creon's wife) have killed themselves. He is still king, but Creon has acted against the gods and has thus lost his son and wife.

I wish I would've watched the play, because it sounds very interesting.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Greek Sculptures, Chatsworth, and Pride & Prejudice

Okay so I'm really obsessed with Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. Along with reading the book, I've watch the movie at least 12 times. There's one part in the movie where Elizabeth walks around Darcy's estate and views his sculpture collection. When we talked about Greek art in class this week, I immediately thought of this one sculpture.

I THINK IT'S SO COOL. How do they get the face to look like that under the veil? Yeah it's kinda creepy, but it's solid art.Anyway, I did a little research on the artwork (specifically Greek sculptures) found at Chatsworth, and this is what I came up with. There's also a great sculpture of Achilles.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


One thing I thought was really intresting about Oedipus was that he was relatable as a charactor. I think one reason this play is considered so well done, and maybe one reason people still read it, is Oedipus's accesible character. One thing that screen writers always tell you is that in order for an audiance to react to the material, they have to relate/sympathize with the characters. Oedipus is a man struggling with his frustrations at heavy responsiblity because he tries to take on too much; he's very human, his macho ego forces him not to accept defeat. Oedipus seems not to want to let anybody down, he has a lot on his plate but his decides he will handle it "like a man" because this seems to be the macho thing to do and Oedipus, as a king and leader, considers himself to be a tough-guy. (Maybe that wording trivilizes it, but I think Oedipus has charactoristics of a typical male charactor struggling to admit weakness in the face of insurmoutable adversity.) Oedipus struggles with this faith, being maybe a rationalist (even though he act irrationally towards other characters) he knows his people cant wait for a miracle and he take it upon himself to solve his peoples problems without sitting back and praying which he may intrepret as defeat (because he feels it's his responsiblity to make things happen.) Oedipus seems to be a pretty well rounded charactor to me, his flaws make him human I think.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I've really enjoyed reading Oedipus Rex in class. I feel like reading it allowed and having different people act as characters helps me to understand the entire story and really see all the facts that are hiding. I think a main theme is the idea of fate vs. free will. Oedipus thinks that he has been living in free will, but in reality the oracle that was predicted for him is completely true. This relates back to the Aeneid, and Aeneas' fate to found the city of Rome. He was happy staying in Carthage and being involved with Dido but he had to be reminded about his destiny and then he was on his way to found Rome. Oedipus (at the point we are at) still does not believe that the oracle has come completely true, but he is definitely worried that it may come true. It is almost unbelievable that could forget that he killed a man. What do you guys think?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Roman Replicas

So I was a little bit curious about how the Romans made marble copies of the Greek statues. Metal (mostly bronze) copies made a little more sense to me since then were just poured into plaster molds. According to this brief article (, to make marble copies they would cast plaster figures of the original and then take exact measurements. 
I thought it was interesting that they would add other elements to suit the patron's taste. Much of what we know about Greek sculptures are from these replicas which could be very far from the original. Furthermore it was interesting to me that they had to add supports to marble copies. In my opinion, something as simple as a support added could ruin the entire aesthetics of the original piece even if they are beautiful in their own right. 

Arthur = an epic poem?

Okay so this isn't exactly the Aenied, but the whole time I was taking the test, I was thinking about this episode of Arthur. I didn't know it when I was seven, but now I can tell they copied the Odyssey a little. I think it's kind of funny.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oedipus Rex

I thought this was pretty good and accurate, although I didn't finish watching it because I don't want to ruin the play for myself. In all honesty, it does trivialize Oedipus Rex a little bit, but I still think it's interesting and pretty well made. Check it out sometime next week after we finish reading the play!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Busy as Bees"

I wonder if the phrase/cliche "busy as bees" came from The Aeneid? I saw the epic simile on page 9 describing Carthage as "a tumult of bees" and I wondered if this common phrase came from that epic simile or maybe the phrase already existed and that's where Virgil got his idea from. Any ideas?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Oedipus: a character study

Oedipus's character is fascinating. I can't tell if he's short-tempered and power-thirsty, or genuine and just in over his head. I kind of think it is the latter. I think so far this book serves as a good lesson for me. Sometimes, like Oedipus, I take on too much. If Oedipus took a step back and listened to the Tiresias, he would know the answers by now. But being stubborn and determined, he didn't allow himself a minute to realize what is going on. Can't wait to continue...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Plato's Play-Doh

In general, I think Plato's philosophies are fascinating. The whole concept that what we perceive is not what really exists and we have no idea that it is just a copy of the ideal. I would have to agree with Ms. King that these concepts are interesting, but I do not believe in them. I believe that everyone perceives reality differently, but it is still reality that we can comprehend and see. I think that the perfect form that Plato speaks of is relative. For example, the idea that someone might be beautiful in appearance is something that is relative to the appearance of others. I do not think that there is some perfectly beautiful person in another realm that triumphs everything we can see on Earth. Plato's definitely teaches some interesting things.

Cave Picture

I thought this was a good picture to show Plato's cave. It helped me understand what was going on inside of the cave and understand the story better.

Amazon Myths

As I was researching the Amazon Warriors, I came across an interesting myth. It was said that they formed their own kingdom and government. Men were not allowed to come into their kingdom, but once a year, the Amazon women would visit the men's neighboring kingdom to ensure that their race would not die out. I thought this was significant because in the Aenied, women were portrayed mostly as bad and usually said no words, but the Amazon women were very independent and didn't even allow the men into their kingdom ever. Also, I found that in the Illiad, the amazon women were called Antianeirai, which means "those who fight like women."

Amazon Warriors

The Wikipedia Amazons page:

I found an interesting tidbit on the page talking about how the warriors would cut off their breast  to be able to shoot their arrows easier:

Among Classical Greeks, amazon was given a popular etymology as from a-mazos, "without breast", connected with an etiological tradition that Amazons had their right breast cut off or burnt out, so they would be able to use a bow more freely and throw spears without the physical limitation and obstruction; there is no indication of such a practice in works of art, in which the Amazons are always represented with both breasts, although the right is frequently covered.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Amazon Warriors

I found a little blurb on Amazon Warriors. Although it doesn't really address the feasibility of the myth, I thought it was interesting that it said that Amazon Warriors removed their right breast, and not their left like The Aeneid said.

Quote to ponder...

As I'm reading The Apology of Socrates, the following quote really struck me:

"You see, fearing death, gentlemen, is nothing other than thinking one is wise when one isn't since it's thinking one knows what one doesn't know. I mean, no one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all goods for people, but they fear it as if they knew for certain that it's the worst thing of all." (Page 659)

I thought this was definitely a new (well, new to me) way to think about death. It's really intriguing to me, although I'm still not quite sure what to think of it.

 Did you all find any of Socrates statements that really struck you?

Allegory of the Cave video

I found this great youtube video for the allegory of the cave. It makes it really easy to follow the progression of the story and also allows one to easily visualize the story. The language is kind of confusing, but this video definitely clears it up. Enjoy

Arms and the Man

This is kind of a random post, but did anyone else notice that chapter ten is titled "Arms and the Man" like the comedy that is supposed to be performed at stm later this month.... I was just wondering what the significance was.

Initial thoughts on The Apology of Socrates

I thought The Apology of Socrates was very good. Socrates totally shut down Meletus in his speech. Especially when he uses the example about the horse. He basically says horses, like humans, only have a few people they can go to that will actually benefit them. Meletus says all the Athenians can benefit the young, but Socrates says no, there are certain people who are teachers that will truly benefit them. This is a brilliant point that Socrates makes. Also, when he curses them it seems like he may have lost it, but he makes a reasonable and good point. That's all.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


One of the things I love about The Aeneid is the fact that it often references the Odyssey, which we've read and thus can understand the allusions! One example I really liked was in Chapter 3 when Polyphemus shows up on the seaside. I thought it was really interesting that he was blind in The Aeneid because of Odysseus and his men. It gives a sort of timeline by comparison. Odysseus was traveling home after the Trojan War, but obviously got to this location before Aeneas. It's pretty cool!

prevalent quotes in the aenied

I'm always amazed by how many everyday phrases come from literature - especially ancient literature. My parents and grandparents both use the phrase, "Rome wasn't built in a day." Also, I liked speculating the origin of "don't look a gift horse in the mouth." I never realized it referred to the trojan horse. Has anyone else seen any popular quotes?


The Aeneid potrays Aeneis as a new kind of hero. A traditional Roman or Greek hero would have stayed in the Trojan war and fought to the death however Aeneis decided to leave the war because he had a greater destiny that is to lay the groundwork for the founding for a new city, Rome. Aeneis has the quality of pietas or loyalty to ones state. Aeneis is loyal to the gods in the sense that he follows their orders and decree and his loyalty is an important aspect of his character

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The House of the Spirits

While watching the movie yesterday in class, I saw many similarities to 100 Years Solitude, especially when it came to magical realism. Most of the magic is involved with Clara. She has obvious magical powers, as seen when she is moving things around with her mind. During the first scene in the movie, she moves the vase without raising a finger and also has people waiting in lines to get some type of advice from her. She also has the ability to predict deaths. She also just decides to not speak for a certain period of time. Another similarity between the two is all the secret love affairs. In 100 Years of Solitude, there are a lot of examples of incest, and while the affairs in The House of the Spirits are not full of incest, they are very secretive. An example of this is Pedro and Blanca; they have a secret meeting place each year and are having a constant affair, without her father knowing. Another similarity I saw was the hacienda that the family was living in. Much like the Buendia's house, it started off as barely anything and transformed into a very successful place for the family to grow and thrive in. What other similarities did yall see during the movie?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

How come we never discussed this quote in class...?

"I don't want you to sketch this cripple, this freak of nature, I want you to slaughter him, crucify him, to nail him to your paper with charcoal!" -Raskinlokov

This is one of my favorite quotations from the book. I underlined it as soon as I read it. I can't beleive we never discussed it in class. It's so full of emotion, and I think it's the most perfect, unsubtle reference to Oskar being Jesus. Plus, it also includes art.. bonus points. Basically, Raskinlokov is asking his pupils to crucify Oskar with the use of art. Being such an intriguing thought, this brings back the whole "is art constructive or destructive?" debacle. All around, I think it's pretty genius.

Judas baby

More so than the parallels between Oskar and Jesus or Satan, I liked the Oskar-Judas relationship. His betrayal of his three (that's wierd to think) parents is such a strong part of the novel, that it's no surprise he is compared to yet again, another notorious biblical character. On page 229, Oskar refers to Jan's capture as his own "Judas performance". This is because he sold out his presumptive father, which inevitably led to his death, making Oskar's description an accurate one. Also Grass writes on page 338 that the statue of Jesus says to Oskar, "Dost thou love me, Oskar?" just like Jesus said to Judas. This second parallel again points to Oskar filling the role of not only the messiah and the devil, but the betrayer that turns over his lord to be crucified. Maybe this means Oskar is self-destructive...? I mean he does seem to want to keep himself in a asylum/prison... Also Judas betrays Jesus 3 times (THREE!! TRIANGLES!!) and Oskar betrays 3 parents (ANOTHER THREE!!) so the symbolism is pretty undeniable.

"Judas! Juda-a-a! Judas! Juda-a-a!"

^a little Lady Gaga..

Thursday, September 1, 2011

If I were going to write an essay....

I love Pink Floyd. As I was reading The Tin Drum this summer I felt like there were maybe some thematic similarities between Pink Floyd the Wall and The Tin Drum. The Wall basically chronically a man's decent into madness and how that madness is perhaps a product of several influences; WWII, his mothers protectiveness/his inability to some extent to cope with adulthood and a recently ended romantic relationship, inability to cope properly with difficult emotions associated with post WWII era, drug abuse, the tedium of the school system, and the concept of sexuality verse love. Ultimately the protagonist Pink (who is based on Syd Barret, real former bandmate) hits the wall, is left unable to express emotion, insane, and trapped at the bottom of a metaphorical well with no means of escape. The movie explores one man's psyche and possible social/societal causes of his madness. I think the progression of madness, specifically the literal/metaphorical wall that builds brick by brick throughout the movie is thematically similar to the Black Cook/Black Witch in Oskar's life; it creeps up slowly then becomes inevitable and unavoidable. Also its interesting to note that both deal with enigmas associated with WWII, specifically fascist/communist symbols. Also thematically, surrealism is used in both works.
This video right here is reflective of the difficulties of growing up in a post WWII Europe and uses music, WWII enigmas, and surreal images to portray the moral confusion of the war and probably more specifically the Blitz (since Floyd's and English band.) The juxtaposition of a blue sky with a war stricken black sky full of bombs as well as soft uncertain vocals against a back drop of death and destruction make this one of the most enigmatic pieces in the movie. It depicts a white dove changing into the dark Nazi falcon and ripping the skin off Europe as a thousand falling bombs are changed into the white crosses that mark the graves of veterans. Then the Nazi symbol changes into something like a giant carbuncular Moloch-like worm that sits over Europe while little creatures with gas-masks for faces hide in the subway tunnels. There's a strikingly post-modern feel comes from Pink's trouble finding morality in the mess here depicted. (The movie is set, I think, in the 70s so this would be looking back - similar to Oskar as he looks back on his childhood experiences in WWII.) This link doesn't work anymore but I stuck a new one on the comment section... yeah it's Goodbye Blue Sky and it's an awesome song...