Choose a passage from the readings of The Iliad containing one of the following themes: Hubris, Shame, Pride, Rage, Love, Heroism, Honor, Abuse of Power, Fatherhood and write one to two pages elaborating on their meaning within the context of the story

Hubris, Shame, Pride, Rage, Love, Heroism, Honor, Abuse of PowerFatherhood

Review of the literature, timeline, introduction to the plot, themes, and characters of the Trojan War. Screening of passages from The Iliad or The Odyssey expressed in various mediums from visual arts to science from the Bronze Age to our present days: pottery, frescoes, paintings, sculptures, drawings, photography, music pieces, songs; clips of dance or Opera choreographies, theater productions, movies, TV shows; comic books series, graffiti, tattoos, and science projects dedicated to Greek Epic characters.

Week Two through seven

THE ILIAD and THE ODYSSEY

Week 2, Sep 13

Have read Il., Books 1-8

Choose a passage from the readings of The Iliad containing one of the following themes: Hubris, Shame, Pride, Rage, Love, Heroism, Honor, Abuse of PowerFatherhood and write one to two pages elaborating on their meaning within the context of the story. Be ready to read it in class and comment/analyze it.

In class lecture: Agency and intention versus akrasia (“weakness of will”), pride, shame, guilt, personal responsibility, bitter regret and forgiveness.

Week 3, Sep 20

Have read Il., Books 9-16

Choose a passage from the readings of The Iliad containing one of the following themes: Friendship, Loyalty to higher morals, empathy, sense of duty, moral obligation versus personal pride and write one to two pages elaborating on their meaning within the context of the story. Be ready to read it in class and comment/ analyze it.

In class lecture:

The paramount consequences of actions that cannot be averted in the making of the tragic hero. Why can’t the tragic hero change?.

Week 4, Sep 2

Have read Il. Book 17-24

Choose a passage from the readings of The Iliad containing one of the following themes: Love, Sorrow, Mourning, Ruthlessness, Loss of Humanity, Revenge, Compassion, Fatherhoodand write one to two pages elaborating on their meaning within the context of the story. Consider their relevance today. Be ready to read it in class and comment/analyze it.

In class lecture:

“Berserkers” of all times, apology of violence in the name of revenge over the loss of one’s own. De-humanization of the enemy, the syndrome of the wrath of Achilles. The “tremblers” of the ancient times versus those affected with “PTSD” today. The Iliad as a guide to understand when and how to prepare for homecoming. Choosing life over death. Achilles versus Hector, what does each represent at large.

Week 5, Oct 4

Have read Od., Books 1-8

Choose a passage from the readings of The Odyssey containing one of the following themes: search for autonomy, shame, inadequacy, frustration, severance from the feminine, journey outward and write one to two pages elaborating on their meaning within the context of the story. Consider their relevance today. Is Telemachus still among us? Is he/she a good example of a person willing yet struggling to grow into an adult?

Be ready to read it in class and comment/analyze it.

In class lecture: Telemachia, an analysis of the search for identity through one’s own ancestry, the journey outward searching for one’s adulthood. The Journey as the metaphor for forging of the soul, the profound importance of mentoring in the process of tempering one’s own matter.

Week 6, Oct 11

Have read Od., Books 9-16

Choose a passage from the readings of The Odyssey containing one of the following themes: Nostos, Hubris, Responsibility, Shame, Pining, Storytelling, Lying, revisiting one’s own mistakes, the magical feminine, descent into the unknown and write one to two pages elaborating on their meaning within the context of the story. Be ready to read it in class and comment/ analyze it.

In class lecture: The metaphor of the journey, Nostos, the impossible return home, dependency versus autonomy, fate versus choice, storytelling as survival, reinvention of the self as both an escamotage to advance and a measure for wisdom, ultimately a metaphor of meeting with one’s monsters; taking responsibility for oneself.

Week 7, Oct 18

Have read: Od, Books 17-24

Choose a passage from the readings of The Odyssey containing one of the following themes: Agnition, Epiphany, Regret, Loyalty, Resolution, Fatherhood, Manhood, Adulthood, Revenge, Forcefulness, Feminine, Motherhood, Authority, and write one to two pages elaborating on their meaning within the context of the story. Be ready to read it in class and comment/ analyze it.

In class lecture: The Return Home. What is the metaphorical meaning of an impossibility? Symbolic significance and weight, cost. What does it mean to become an adult? How expensive is the bounty that the King brings home? What role has the feminine in the holding and the preservation of the kingdom? Can a King detain his role without a Queen? How does a Queen keep her status without a King? The philosophical impossibility of stepping down from the throne begins here, here begins the “the once and forever king/queen” metaphor.

THE TRAGEDIES

THE WOUNDED HEART

Week 8, Oct. 25

Sophocles: Ajax

Choose a passage from the readings of Ajax containing one of the following themes: HubrisResponsibility, Shame, Revenge, Pride, Love, Irony and write one to two pages elaborating on their meaning within the context of the story. Be ready to read it in class and comment/ analyze it.

In class lecture: Class and separation of casts in Classical Greece. The importance of burial in the social sphere, how do we define fairness? How do we define heroism? What makes life worth living? What constitutes value? What makes death meaningful?

Review of the New York Times editorial.  In class reading and discussion of the students’ writings.

Week 9 through 10, Nov. 1 and Nov. 8

Sophocles, Philoctetes

André Gide: Philoctetes

Choose a passage from one of the two Philoctetes containing one of the following themes, or lack of: Responsibility, Honor, Shame, Compassion, Love, Hate, Self Deprecation, LoyaltyThe Wound That Doesn’t Heal, Detachment, Self Containment, Forgiveness, Love of all Things, Compassion and write a two pages’ comparison between the two plays. Be ready to read it in class and comment/analyze it.

In class lecture: 1) Soldiers as disposable items, Morale, Morality, and Amorality in War. Apology of immorality via cunning rhetoric around patriotism and the mystique of The Country before one’s fellow citizens.

2) Denial of patriotism and the country in favor of friendship, love, personal loyalty and human decency. Coining of new significance of good citizenship.  When the wound heals and how.

In class discussion on the different perspectives of the story as seen by Sophocles and by Gide.

Week 11 through 12, Nov. 15 and Nov 22

THE WOMAN QUESTION

(Final paper assignment, due in four weeks)

Euripides, The Trojan Women

Choose a passage from the readings of The Trojan Women containing one of the following themes: Impotence, Motherhood, Rage, Revenge, Loyalty, Surrendering, and Upholding of morality and Social norms, and write one to two pages elaborating on their meaning within the context of the story.

In class lecture: Women role in ancient Greece as bearers of life’s cardinal threads, from tending to childbirth to funeral rites, and weaving in between. The female condition in family and war. The unheard voice, sex and slavery, rape, witchcraft, madness, oracle, revenge, and freedom, psychopathy.

In class reading and discussion: Roberto Calasso’s The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, (excerpt treating The rape of Penthesilea). Love in death, finding your equal and killing it. The mystique of death in the tragic hero.

THANKSGIVING BREAK

Week 13, Nov. 29

Have read:

H.D. (Helda Dolittle), “Helen in Egypt, Eidolon”, Book III: 4 and:”Helen”

Yeats, William Butler. “No Second Troy”, “When Helen Lived”, and “Leda and the Swan”

Kraus, Nicole. “The idea of Helen”

Atwood, Margaret. “Helen of Troy does countertop dancing”

Poe, Edgar Allan. “To Helen”

Gorgias of Leontini: Encomium of Helen

Write a one page critical commentary on the Encomium of Helen. Also choose three poems and write one page critical commentary on each.

In class lecture:

To the poet Marlowe’s question “Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships, / And burnt the topless towers of Ilium.”? one could counter ask: Was she free not to?

The devastating power of beauty rests on both the beholder and the beheld, and so the responsibility for all consequences. The Helen in our time: who is she/he? What is it? What is IT responsible for?

Week 14, Dec. 6

Have read:

Virgil. Aeneid, Book II,

Dante. The Inferno, Canto XXVI

Lord Alfred Tennyson: Ulysses

Choose a passage from the speech of Ulysses in Dante’s XXVI Canto, a relevant passage from Virgil’s Aeneid, Book II, or Tennyson’s poem containing one of the following themes: Acceptance, Regret, Wonderment, Familial Love, Loss, Amazement, Folly, and write one to two pages elaborating on their meaning within the context.

In class lecture: The obsession of the West with respect to the Homeric Cycle migrates to Imperial Rome, Odysseus becomes Ulysses, the making of the modern man begins. How does he turn into a symbol of thirst for knowledge, perseverance, curiosity of the unknown, indomitable autonomy, and disregard for danger in the pursuit of knowledge and discovery?

Knowledge as the pursuit of eternity, death as the token of immortality, the human oxymoron in Dante’s version.

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