Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All Must Come to an End

To begin my farewell, I would like to point out that I enjoyed this class immensely. It was by far the most entertaining class that I took this semester, and I really enjoyed the texts that we read as well. To be completely honest, (and please don't take offense to this Dr. Sexon, I try not to stereotype, but sometimes do make incorrect assumptions based upon previous experiences) upon entering the classroom and seeing Dr. Sexon I did not think I was going to enjoy it very much. I have taken classes from numerous courses from older English professors that were so dry and boring that I had to drink a red bull after class to make it through the day. Although many of them were very knowledgeable about the topic that they taught, I was unable to learn anything through their monotonous droning on. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. Dr. Sexon was by far the most entertaining professor I have had thus far in my college career. I love that he is not afraid to talk crudely and refer to the fart jokes made in Hermes. He made everything interesting and made us all laugh numerous times throughout the semester. I never found the class boring, which quite frankly is unheard of. Overall, it was a wonderful course and I can't wait to take another from Dr. Sexon next semester.

Coming into this class I knew very little about classical literature and mythology. I knew a little bit about the gods, and bits and pieces of well known myths, but that is about it. It's funny actually, I took a mythologies class this semester thinking that I would learn all about Greek and Roman myths, but it was in this class that I actually did. I feel much more knowledgeable about the Greeks and Romans and their myths after taking this class. Not only has reading their works helped me to learn about them and Thieu culture, but it has given me new insight to today as well. During the first week or two of class Dr. Sexon asked us to bring in a paper, read the articles, and to see what aspects of the past we could find in our present. I'm pretty sure that I gave him a weird confused look because I had no idea what he was talking about. All that I saw were events that occurred during my lifetime, and I could not connect them to the past. I guess I didn't really see how the past and the present truly are connected. I feel like I am much more able to find such connections now than I was before. Learning the background information, such as the myths and stories, has made me much more equipped to find the connections. It is extremely difficult to compare two things when you know absolutely nothing about one of them. The class has not only given me more information, but has helped me view things differently. Although, I am not going to lie, I was not particularly fond of the blogging, I think that it did help me to find connections with the readings and my circumstantially bound life. It forced me to think more deeply, and I am thankful for that.

I am not really sure what else I have learned from the class. I think that it is something that I will have to look back on to really tell, but I am okay with that. All I know is that it has helped mold the person that I will become, and I am thankful to Dr. Sexon as well as my classmates for enabling that.

I wish everyone good luck in the future, and will probably see many of you in other classes. Have a great summer, and take care.

Thanks again Dr. Sexon, and please forgive my mistake on the first day. I have learned from that as well.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Modern Midas (Presented by Group Four)

While trying to decide on a topic for our group project, we had to take into consideration that one of our group members was going to be gone the day that we were supposed to present. This, of course, posed a small problem. However, through our extremely innovative and creative thinking, we discovered a way to include her in our class presentation and rid ourselves of the stress of actually speaking in front of the class. We would make a movie.

At first, I was a little ambivalent because my acting skills are sub par to say the least. It's true, I have stage fright. But after a long nail biting session that left me with very sore fingers, I realised that my stage fright is even worse when it comes to public speaking. Making a movie was in fact a great alternative for me, not only because it was very informal, but because I had almost no audience to worry about during the filming. Although we had an outline of what we wanted to do for each scene, there was no pre-written script to memorise, so I did not have to worry about forgetting my lines. Not to mention, it was a fun experience and I think that it turned out pretty well.

Anyway, back to the topic of our group presentation as a whole. We decided to base our movie on the story of Midas. Since greed and rumours are such a relevant thing to today's society, we figured it would be an easy tale to modernise. Naturally, we picked Donald Trump to represent the character of Midas. Not only is he is a figure that everybody knows well, he is also so wealthy that it seems everything he touches does in a sense turn to gold. Going along with the idea of Pan, Apollo and music, we decided to incorporate Trump's show "The Apprentice." The two surviving contestants on the show, Paula and Pam, are required to put on a charity concert event. Even though Pan and Apollo are males, we decided that they could be females in the new version and came up with names that corresponded with the original ones. The concert that Trump and his assistants like the most wins, and the competitor who put it together gets to be Trump's apprentice. Although Paula's concert is more thought out and obviously more popular with the crowd, Pam wins the competition. Paula vows that Trump will regret his decision, and you see later on that he does. Originally we had thought about actually giving Trump donkey ears in our video, but decided to change it up a bit. One thing that Donald is known for is his hair, so we thought, "why not make him bald or give him a receding hairline instead?" Thus we had him go to the barber where Paula, disguised of course, begins to cut his hair. As she indicated that he would, Trump receives an unwelcome surprise for picking the worse contestant. His hair disappears with the blink of an eye. Rather than whispering the secret to the ground in our movie, we used the idea of picture messaging. Cell phones are something that literally everyone uses today and that many people base their life around, so what better way to get the word out that Trump is now bald. Another small detail that is worth mentioning is that all of the customers waiting in the lobby at the barber's are reading books that we have read and discussed in this class.

The movie is definitely ridiculous and cheesy, but that was our objective from the beginning. Comedy has played a large role in this class, so we decided to take it to another level and just go over the top like Aristophanes did in Lysistrata. Zach had a Jesus costume, and someone had to give Trump the golden touch, so we incorporated him in as a silly character. The dialogue was of course also somewhat vulgar and ridiculous as well. Hopefully everyone enjoyed it and was able to see the reflection of Ovid's story of Midas in our video.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day Three Individual Presentations

Unfortunately I was unable to make it to class for the second day of individual presentations, so I am skipping to the third day. Once again, I really liked all of the things that people talked about and had to say. It amazes me that although certain topics were discussed by more than one person, each presentation was very different. A number of people wrote about how taking this class has changed them, but it has affected each and every one of us in a different way.

One presentation that stuck out to me was Biz's. It is funny because the first thing that came to my mind when I learned that we were going to read Ovid's Metamorphosis was Kafka's book. I had actually even though about writing my paper on it as well, although I would have taken a very different approach. Her idea that both Luscious and Gregor's transformations were caused by their soul settling in its correct form. I thought that her comparison of the two books to The Golden Compass series was an interesting one. I would not have made that comparison had she not pointed it out. Her approach was a very different and interesting one, and I enjoyed hearing it.

Another presentation that I liked a lot was Chloe's. I can totally relate to her desire to want to be children again sometimes. Although I still thoroughly enjoy the Harry Potter books, the innocence and dreams that we had as children was a great thing. As kids all girls dreamed of being a princess and finding her prince. Fairy tales became reality through our imagination and we could be whoever we wanted to be. Last night I watched "Bedtime Stories," and at one point Adam Sandler says something like, "There are no happy endings in real life." The children insisted that the bedtime stories that he told had happy endings. Like the children that Chloe speaks about, they feel that anything can happen in stories and that such things do happen in real life. They have an innocence about them that keeps their outlook on life. It is not until we become adults that we become disillusioned and can no longer find the wonderful/magical parts of life. We know that life is suffering. This loss of innocence is sad, and I too often wish to have it back.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day One Individual Presentations

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the individual presentations given today. I wish that we would have had more time to discuss what everyone wrote about, but the lack of time made that impossible of course. Since numerous peopled presented today, I can of figured that it would be best to kind of focus on a point or two from the ones that I found most interesting.

Alyssa wrote her course paper on transmigration. Although we did talk about it in class, we did not really go into much depth, so I found what she had to say very interesting. In her research she found that throughout history numerous cultures from all over the world have believed in some form of transmigration. One thing that she said that I had never heard before was that some people believe that the reason why children resemble their families so much is because a family member's soul dies and then enters an infant. I thought that this, along with other points that she discussed, were very informative and interesting. It is always great to learn something new and different.

Another presentation that I enjoyed was Brittany's. A number of people wrote creative stories, but hers was quite different than the others. She wrote about falling asleep and waking up in an imaginary life. This life took place long ago during the festival of Dionysus in Greece. The way that she approached the Eleusinian Mysteries was unique and entertaining. I liked that she wrote about in first person as if she were there because it helped me to imagine how it might have been.

The third presentation that really caught my attention was Kate's. The fact that she spent time with a group of elderly man as a form of research for her paper is great. I have spent a lot of time with my grandparents, and it is funny because one of my grandfathers is just like them. There is little better than listening to funny old men and the conversations that they have. I found her topic hilarious. It seems like she really enjoyed spending time with them, and I am sure that they enjoyed the company of a hot young specimen as well. Haha.

Although I only touched on three specific presentations, I liked them all and cannot wait to see what everyone else wrote about.

Term Paper: Metamorphosis in Our Life

Caitlin Murphey
Classical Literature
20 April 2009
Final Paper
Metamorphosis in My Life
Although to some it may seem that the topic of metamorphosis has already been exhausted in class, I feel as though we have neglected to tie it into our own lives. The process of metamorphosis can take on an infinite number of forms. Some take many years to complete, while others occur in matters of minutes or hours. Numerous transformations are evident to the human eye, while many others take place at a molecular level and are essentially unnoticeable. Such transmutations are forever and unquestionably present in the world. Every single organism in the universe undergoes some sort of transformation at some point during its own existence.
Ted Hughes’ Tales from Ovid represent only one facet of the term “metamorphosis.” Specifically, the transformations presented are more or less caused by supernatural powers and generally occur instantaneously. However, an infinite number of organisms undergo a different kind of metamorphosis every day throughout the expanse of the universe. Granted, such transformations typically require more time to occur and are often less apparent, but they still bear a significant change. Take, for example, a caterpillar. From the day that it is born it begins to grow, and after a certain amount of time in the larva stage it crafts a cocoon. Within its temporary home a caterpillar undergoes an extreme transformation, and when it reemerges into the outside world it does so as a butterfly. Although transformations such as this are so commonplace that they have lost their element of mysticism and we have a tendency to overlook them, the metamorphosis that occurs is fascinating and extremely widespread.
David Malouf presents a different kind of metamorphosis, one that we as humans can more closely relate to, in his book An Imaginary Life. Ovid’s character alters throughout the period that he spends in a foreign world due to his exile. Malouf’s story exhibits the way in which the occurrences and conversations that humans participate in, both consciously and unconsciously, mold the people that they become. Humans are an ever changing species, and we experience countless transformations throughout our lives. Our bodies, personalities, beliefs, and desires all undergo continuous metamorphosis. As a result, humans are very dynamic and the person that one of their childhood friends might remember is very likely extremely different than that same person thirty or forty years later.
Although the difference may be apparent to outsiders, pinpointing one’s own transformations can be difficult. Often, changes occur so gradually within us that they can take hold without us noticing them. Every time a child attends a family reunion and visits with people that he/she has not seen for a long time at least one relative is bound to exclaim, “You have gotten so tall!” While it is likely that the child has not really noticed the extent of his growth, it is much more obvious to someone who has not been around to see it. An example that applies to my life, and those of many other women, is a stage that I went through during my teenage years. I went from the sweet and innocent child to the uncontrollable and resentful teenager. Like many adolescent children, I had a very strained relationship with my parents during my teen years. My friends and I partook in a number of activities, some of which were illegal, that I would have never dreamed of doing a few short years before. Thankfully, I have undergone another transformation and moved beyond that stage. Even though I no longer act like I did in high school, certain aspects of my character were inadvertently shaped during that stage of my life.
While some transformations are brought on unnoticed within us due to psychological or physical stimuli, other transformations are brought on by choice. In Imaginary Life Malouf states, “We have some power in us that knows its own ends. It is that that drives us on to what we must finally become. We have only to conceive of the possibility and somehow the spirit works in is to make it actual. This is the true meaning of transformation. This is the real metamorphosis” (64). One can chose to become a better person or transform certain aspects of themselves by directly addressing whatever it is that they would like to change and making a staunch effort to do so. By choosing to immerse oneself in another culture, one has made an effort towards broadening one’s one perspective on things. Three years ago I spent a summer in Mexico and worked with the native people. Although I lived in similar conditions to those which I live in here, the majority of my interactions were with those who did not. I visited a fishing village that had no electricity and lived in absolute poverty. Even those who were considered to be wealthier could not afford a house in which each child could have their own room. The experience was both eye opening and humbling, and I truly did become a different person. Although this was a life changing experience, one is transformed by the interactions that they have with others every day. It does not take something huge to change a person. Every choice that one makes shapes who one becomes.
When assigned this paper I struggled with the task of selecting a topic that I found both relevant and intriguing. The prompt could not have been more open ended, leaving me somewhat overwhelmed. I found Dr. Sexon’s suggestion to write about what I have learned in this class and how it has affected me to be rather boring, so I elected to write about something else. However, his suggestion is in fact exactly what I have inadvertently discovered in writing my paper. I am now able to recognize that I personally have transformed as a result of taking this class. Not only has my knowledge regarding classical literature grown, but the way in which I look at the world has been transformed as well. I feel that as the semester comes to an end I have become much more capable of seeing the “eternities rather than the times,” and recognizing that what takes place around me has occurred many times before in slightly different variations. Our world is filled with metamorphosis and things are ever changing, yet as is presented in the idea of the eternal return, everything is destined to repeat itself in some form. The way in which I now look at life as well as literature has gone through a phase of metamorphosis because of the experiences that I have had in this class.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Reaction to Group One's Presentation

Although I have enjoyed all of the group presentations thus far, I really enjoyed group one's presentation today. I found every individual speech interesting, and was really surprised that the group members had not really discussed what they were going to say before they did it. Each speech was so different, which just serves to prove that love is not something that is easily defined. Its meaning and the feelings associated with the word are subjective. Every person's experience of love is very different.

The point that Kayla brought up about the word "love" not having a synonym is something that made me think as well. The more and more I pondered, I realised the veracity of this. There is no other word in the English language that carries the same depth of meaning. I think there are a number of reasons that there is no other word that can express the same things. Like I said before, "love" has a large multiplicity of meanings. There are numerous kinds of love, such as romantic and familial. Although each kind of love is different, they all have certain things in common, and can therefore be compiled into one category. This multiplicity makes it extremely difficult to find a word to substitute for it. Another possible explanation for the inability of another word to take its place is that although there are different kinds of love, it is extremely personal and has such specific characteristics. For one, it is very deep and true love can be felt in the very bottom of the soul. In my opinion, there is nothing else that has the same kind of control over a person and their emotions. It is a bond made between two people, and there is nobody in the world that shares the same exact bond. It is something that is extremely different than any other feeling in the world.

Moving back to the presentation as a whole, I was curious about whether or not each person was assigned a certain character from the Symposium to portray. They said that they didn't really discuss what they were going to write beforehand, but each person's speech seemed to correspond with a character from Plato's writing. Obviously the hiccups were something that they took from Plato. Although the last speaker took a "mushy" approach on love, he did not tell a story as did Alcibiades. Vernice's spoke about how love is not like a disease, and how "love-sickness" is in the mind. This speech seemed to kind of correspond with the doctor's in that it seemed to focus on the scientific and psychological aspects of love. There were other aspects of the presentation that corresponded with the writing as well.

Lastly, I liked the speech that talked about love in respect to art. The artwork that was put on the board was beautiful, and in my opinion did a great job of embodying the idea of love. It was a very interesting take on love, and one much different than mine since I am not in any way shape or form an artist.

Overall, I really enjoyed the presentation and the different ideas about love presented in them. Well done.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Golden Ass

I really enjoyed Robert Graves' The Golden Ass and wish that we would have had more time to discuss it in class. It was an intriguing tale and the connections between Cupid and Psyche's story and that of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast were interesting. Overall I liked the book a lot. However, to be completely honest I did not like the character of Psyche very much. I feel like she represents the stereotypical woman that has to be told what to do because she can't think for herself. Whenever her step sisters tell her to do anything she obeys without question even though it is obvious to the reader that they are giving her bad advice. Then, after her lover leaves her, she becomes helpless and cannot see the purpose in living so she tries to kill herself. I feel like this is also a display of the stereotypical woman who needs a man and his direction in order to find purpose in life. Not only can she not make her own decisions, but she cannot take care of herself and is reliant upon Cupid and his love for meaning in life. As all women have pent up rage inside waiting to burst forth, she decides that she needs to kill her sisters for making her lose Cupid. Again, she does not take responsibility for her own actions and puts it all on her sisters. Also, I would say that making them jump off a cliff was perhaps a little harsh too. They are portrayed as stupid women as well in doing this task.

Overall, it seems like women are presented as helpless and mindless creatures that are completely reliant on men in the tale of Cupid and Psyche. Granted, I realize that women were not highly esteemed in the past and this might have something to do with it. I am not one of those crazy feminists who would say that we shouldn't read this book because it is sexist, but it still does bother me a little bit. I simply find it annoying and know that I would not like her at all if I were to meet Psyche in person.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Loving Cupid

The aspect of the story of Cupid and Psyche that I found most intriguing was the idea of falling in love with love. Although it seems that Psyche does in fact love her "invisible lover" before she sees him, in the moment that she pricks her finger quite she literally falls in love with love. Not only is this something that I found ironic, but I found it quite comical. Of course while doing the one act that she was specifically instructed not to do, Psyche seals her own fate of unrequited love. For although Cupid very likely has the ability to love, love most definitely does not have the ability to return that which she feels for it.

After giggling to myself for a bit and thinking the whole scene over, I realised that this too has a place in the present. I feel like so many people these days, especially those who marry very young, are actually in love with the idea of love rather than the person that they marry. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that all young marriages are bound to fail, but statistically speaking there is a good chance. The divorce rate has sky rocketed in the last millennium, and it is difficult to say why exactly. I believe that part of the reason has to do with people being in love with love.

Throughout their lives women are bombarded by images of the wonders of "true" love. Look at almost all of the Disney films. In literally all of them the girl gets the boy that she wants and they live happily ever after. Cinderella is treated terribly by her step mother and sisters. She is not allowed to partake in any town activities and is most definitely not invited to the balls. However, with he help of a fairy god mother she is able to attend the ball and gain the love of a prince. After a number of trials and tribulations they are once again united and they live happily ever after in his castle. This theme is found throughout Disney movies, The Golden Ass, and much of today's pop culture. A girl grows up dreaming about the "prince" that will one day sweep her off her feet. She starts planning her wedding at the age of six and continues to do so until the day that she says her first I do's. This of course starts all over again when she finds that the husband she chose does not have such princely characteristics and there is no such thing as "happily ever after"in real life. Both love and relationships take work. Couple always go through bad times, it is a natural part of life, and they must work through it together. I feel like so many people today get into a serious relationship today because they want to experience love. It is not because they truly love the person that they are with, but they trick themselves into thinking that they do. As soon as a hole in their love bubble forms though, the relationship is over.

Love is a beautiful thing. There is nothing that makes you feel better than seeing an elderly couple that still hold hands and that have that look in their eye. It fills you with warmth and desire to have what they have. I am not a cynic when it comes to love, I most definitely believe in true love, but I think that people today need to be more aware that the love presented in the fairy tales is not reality. Such things implant false illusions in our mind from our childhood on, and we must attempt to see them for what they are. Falling in love with love will surely always leave us disappointed, and it can never help get you through hard times like the love of a person.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Death of a Pet

My family has always had a least one pet and I have seen a number of them die. Some were fish, which quite honestly did not affect me much, but the others were all dogs. Dogs, and even our cats to some degree, are treated like other members of the family. We are very close with them and spend a lot of time walking them and playing with them. It has been really terrible when they have passed away.

The first dog that passed away in my lifetime was called Keaven. She was a beautiful golden retriever who loved everyone. She passed away the day after my fourth birthday. Honestly I don't remember her very much, and I was too young to really understand what had happened I think. While my dad took care of her my mother and I went to see the Nutcracker, so I didn't really see her in the terrible state that I am sure she was in for a while.

The next dog to die was Keaven's sister Chelsey. She was old, like 14, and just fell asleep and didn't wake up. It was a lot harder on my mom at the time because we had just gotten a puppy a couple years earlier and my sister and I were much closer to the puppy. Rosie had lived a long life, so her death wasn't as horrible.

The most recent death occurred on Christmas Eve two years ago. Taush's death was by far the worst for me. We had gotten her when I was around eight and I had been there as she grew up. She was a newfoundland, which are huge black dogs with long hair. She loved everyone as well, and I only saw her growl twice in the ten years that she lived. Both instances involved a large dog that she seemed to feel were threatening towards us. Tausha always carried a stuffed animal in her mouth like she wanted to have puppies. Although she chewed many things up as a puppy, she was very well behaved and calm. I remember my dad calling me on Christmas Eve and telling me that she was really sick and he didn't think that she was going to make it. I came to the house to say goodbye and see her one last time, and by the time I got there she was gone. She had passed away in her sleep. Although she lived a long life as well, it was hard to give her up. Her health decreased rapidly, and within a week she went from acting normal and active to dying. Every time we eat salmon I think about her because we used to give her the skins. Going to the beach reminds us all of her too because she would always come with us and chase the gulls and play with the kelp. Needless to say, that Christmas was not a great one for the family, and to make it worse my insensitive step sister made numerous unthoughtful remarks. Taush was the perfect dog, and we miss her a lot.

My family still has a number of animals: two chihuahuas, one golden retriever, and two cats to be exact. Both of my roommates have dogs as well, so they still play a large role in my life. There have been a number of scares with all of the animals, and the thought of losing another one is hard. Loosing an animal is like the loss of a child. It is terrible, and although time dulls the pain, it will never go away fully.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Test 2 Prep

I was looking over everyone's blogs this last weekend while I was lying indisposed on my couch, and saw that many people had clarified some of the answers to the test questions given in class (Thanks by the way). Zach had even created his own review, and I thought "wow, that's a realy good idea." I generally make my own study guides before tests as well becuase the act of writing everything down helps me retain the information better. So, here is my electronic study guide.

1. Flyting: The exchange of insults; verbal argument

2. Tally: 2 halves of a coin that 2 friends keep so that when they see eachother years later they
will be able to recognise one another as their old friend (Aristophane spoke about it in his
speach in the Symposium).

3. Sumary of the story of Echo and Narcissu
Narcissus was born with "a beauty that broke hearts. Tiresias gave prophesy that Narcissus could live long, but only if he doesn't "learn to know himself." While hunting Narcissus comes upon echo, a beautiful nymph. Jupiter had made it so she always repeated the last word or two of what she heard over and over again because she had helped Juno ecape her probing eyes too many times. She fell immediately in love w/Narcissus. Tries to get his embrace, but he denies her. She fell into dispair, her bones turned into stone, and her voiced wandered off to be heard forever (echo into an echo). Narcissus sees his reflection, although doesn't understand it his reflection at first, in a clear pool and falls in love. His beauty and body shriveled like Echo's, and he died. All that stood where his body fell was a beautiful white flower (Narcissus into a narcissus flower.

4. The two characters that were models for Romeo and Juliet
1. Pyramos
2. Thisbe

5. Summary/Overview of the Symposium:
1. Apollodorus/Aristodemus: the one who tells the account of what took place at the meeting
2. Phaedrus: the one who suggests that each person make a speach on love, says it is older than the gods and has no parents, promotes virtue in people, army made of lovers and loved ones would be untouchable, talks about lovers and the honorable acts they have done (ex. Alcestis and Admetus)
3. Pausanias: talks about 2 kinds of love (both associated with godesss): common love (simple and mindless desire, directed towards bodies rather than minds --> bad) and heavenly love (between a man and a boy --> lover sexually gratifes loved in exchange for education in wisdom and virtue).
4. Eryximachus: good love promotes "moderation and orderliness," it can be found in many things outside of human relations (such as music and medicine), relates love to medicine and curing the body, talks about heavenly love and common love as well (compares to food), talks about seasons
5. Aristophanes: is a myth, 3 genders -->1. female (from earth), 2. male (from sun), 3. androgenous (from moon), we used to be one with our lovers (although had body parts of both) but Zues cut us in half and now we wander searching for our soul mates (includes the idea of the tally in his speach)
6. Agathon: has the hiccups, characterizes love as "young, beautiful, sensitive, and wise," says it is what gives us virtues, his speach is very eloborate, characterizes it as a young god, settles in our minds and characters, talks about virtues of love
7. Socrates: asks questions to Agathon about his love, recounts a speach made by Diotoma, she says that love is not a god but a spirit between a person and that which they desire, desire for wisdom and beauty (but not wise or beautiful), esxpresses itself sexually or through pregnancy, greates knowledge is knowledge of the Form of Beauty, claims love was concieved at a feast to honor Aphrodite, latter of love (start simple and move foward, like with the rock and tree)
8. Alcibiades: directs speach to Socrates and tries (but fails) to get him to sleep with him, very drunk when gives his eulogy, not a speach but a story

6. Tragedy means goat song and comedy means revel song

7. Metempsychosis: transmigration of souls

8. Catharsis: the purging of the emotions pity and fear (should occur while watching tragedy)

9. According to The Trojan Women, what is the worst thing one can be forced to chose?
The sacrifice of a child

10. ob-scene: off stage (Lysistrata)

11. What is the difference between New Comedy and Old Comedy?
1. Old Comedy: doesn't involve love, but abuse. Can be political or social satire. Generally is
very crude.
2. New Comedy: focuses more on the humour in love and familt matters. Generally has to
do with boy wants gurl, boy cannot have gurl becuase of obstacles (often his father wants
the same gurl), obstacles are removed and he gets gurl. It generally ends in vulgar/physical love

12. anamnesis: Plato's theory that humans were born knowing everything, but they have
forgotten it all

13. Dr. Sexon says to think of reincarnation as poetic thought or metaphor

14. What did Paris chose when offered gifts by Aphrodite?
The most beautiful woman in the world (Helen)

15. 3 symbols of comedy
1. weddings
2. feasts
3. dancing

16. Which character from Lysistrata is symbloic of reconciliation?
A naked woman (on the cover as well)

17. What is the difference between Sophoclean tragedy and Euripedian tragedy
1. Sophoclean: formal truth, experience of catharsis, person of high stature falls to low
2. Euripedian: emotional truth

18. According to Freud, what do we do to keep from crying?
We laugh

19. tragedy = individuals while comdey = society

20. Parabasis:a part in old comedy in which people on stage abuse the audience

21. In which of Ovid's tales of metamorphosis did 2 bears turn into constellations? Callisto

22. Women taken as spoils of war tak on what roles in The Trojan Women?
1. slaves
2. concubines

23. Phallocentrism:the domination of a culture by the male point of view (represented by
the phallus)

24. What did Aristotle say was the perfect form of literature?

25. According to Plato, what happens when you see something beautiful?
Your shoulder blades begin to itch because your "wings want to grow"

26. nostos: "homecomming"

27. Ovidean Characters and their transformations
1. Naobi --> weeping rock
2. Acteon -->Stag
3. Narcissus --> narcissus flower
4. Atalanta --> lion
5. Pentheus -->boar
6. 4 Ages: gold, silver, bronze, iron
7. Adonis --> wind flower
8. Arachni --> spider
9. Myrrah --> tree (from which Adonis is born)
10. Tieresius --> man --> woman --> man
11. Midas --> asses ears

28. When a god promises something to a human, they cannot take it back, but can...
add to it (ex. Tiersesius: Jupiter gave Tierisius the ability to prophosizes after Jupiter took
away his sight for saying that women enjoy sex more than men)

29. Summary of "The Athenian Women" from Lysistrata
Opens with a story about a man being stoned to death by the men and his wife having the same thing done by the women (complete dependence on men, but very different social spheres). Athenians thought that women were more likely to threaten civilization wit violence and promiscuity. They were characterised as out of control and subject to lawless passion. It was thought that women had to be "locked up and watched" to keep them from having indescriminte sex and ruining the family. Marriage was a woman's ultimate goal and destiny. Until death women were identified as "the wife of so-and-so," and they were expected to stay in a separated part of the house with the children. Poverty was one of the view things that could bring women out of the house, along with religion, but it was considered shameful. Women were considered to be a financial burden, but necesary. They were not considered to be fully human, but an infirior creature. In Athens, only children born of two Athenian citizens were given citizenshitp (kept down outside competition for Athenian women). Women were not allowed to own anything, and her inheritance went to her husband. Women had exclusive ritual duties, for example it was they that prepared a body for burial.

30. Summary of "Greek Comedy" from Lysistrata
The City Dionysia was known for it's dramatic productions. Drama sponsors commissioned a playwright, had the actors and chorus outfitted, and sometimes hired extra actors/singers/ dancers/musicians. Less comedies than tragedies survive today. Aristophones got away with so much abuse and crudness becuase he emphasized the public good. Comdedy and tragedy are similar, but comedy "turns the genre of tragedy upside down and shakes it." Drama was technically supposed to entertain the god Dionysus, not the audience. There was very few prop used, simple backdrops, no lighting besides from the sun, and no sound system. All of the actors were men, and plays occurred back to back. Comedy favored "circus-like actions" from the chorus. Poetry played a huge role in drama, including comedy, and the script itself was written in poetry rather than prose. Comedy is funny because "it is not distressing" and does not cause pain, pity, or fear. Old comedy likes starizing tragedy. The chorus adds to the strangeness of the plot in comedy.

31. The opening line of Tales from Ovid:
"My soul would sing of metamorphosis"

32. The closing line of Tales from Ovid:
"I shall have life"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Metamorphosis Images


This picture depicts Apollo (the figure in the center) giving Midas ass's ears (lower right)after he claims that Apollo's performance was not the best. He receives donkey ears as a punishment. King Midas hides the ears, but when he gets his hair cut the barber sees them. The barber digs a hole and whispers it to the ground thinking that nobody will find out, but the reeds begin to whisper it out loud and everyone finds out.


This statue is a representation of Niobe trying to save her children. After Niobe stopped the Theban women from paying homage and praying to Leto, the goddess became very angry. To make matters worse, Niobe bragged that her children were much greater than Leto's. As a result all of Niobe's children were killed and she is turned into a weeping stone. It is said that she still weeps today.

Phaethon Sisters

This picture depicts the Phaethon sisters morphing into laurel trees. Phaethon asks his father to provide him with the chariot of the sun and one day to ride it. Despite his father's warnings, Phaethon goes out with the chariot, loses control, and fell from the heavens to his death. His sisters came and mourned at his graves for months and months. When they went to move they realise that their feet have been stuck to the ground and they become laurel trees.

The Rape of Proserpina

This statue is a representation of Pluto stealing Proserpina away while she is out picking flowers. Pluto sees Proserpina, decides he must have her, and steals her to the underworld. Ceres finds out with the help of Cyane, a goddess turned to a stream from sadness, and is enraged. Cyane goes to Jupiter to get him to have her daughter returned, but finds out she has eaten the food of hell. Thus the seasons came to be. While Proserpina is on earth it is spring and summer, and while she is below it is fall and winter.

Narcissus and Echo

This picture depicts Narcissus laying down and looking at his image in the water. He is extremely beautiful, and every woman wants him, including the nymph Echo. He scorns Echo, she is hurt, and she mourns until her body disintegrates and she turns into an echo. Narcissus sees his reflection and falls in love with himself. He lays and stares into the pool until his body disintegrates as well and then turns into a narcissus flower.


This picture shows Arachne turning into a spider. Arachne was a wonderful weaver and Minerva heard word that many people believed she was as good as her. Arachne claims that her talent is self taught, does not give Minerva credit for giving her the gift, and challenges Minerva to a weaving contest. Arache wins and Minerva rips it apart and hits Arachne. Arachne decides to hang herself, which causes Minerva to feel some pity. She keeps Arachne from dying, but turns her into a spider and makes her hang from a string for the remainder of her life.


This picture shows Pygmalion looking at his sculpted woman. Pygmalion is not impressed with any of the women in the area that he lived, in fact he was mostly disgusted. He makes a sculpture of a beautiful women, and wishes with all his heart it was real. During the Venus festival Pygmalion makes his sacrifices and said his prayers, and then asks the gods to grant his ivory woman life. Venus hears his pleas, and grants him his wish. He comes home to his newly human sculpture and falls deeply in love. They get married, have a child, and live happily ever after.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

If I Could Be any Animal I Would Be...

While discussing Ovid's Metamorphosis the question of what animal we would like to be if we could chose anything in the world came up. Dr. Sexon asked a number of people, not me thankfully because I had no idea, what they would chose. Someone said a dolphin and another said a dog, and it made me think briefly about what I would want to be.

Although it seems like such a trivial question, there are a lot of factors that play a part in such a decision. What characteristics would I want to have? What fantasies could I live out if I were a member of a different species? What different kinds of things would I have to worry about?

Like many people, I would love to fly. I feel like there would be no other experience that could compare to the feeling that one would have while flying. Being able to cut through the water like a dolphin would be pretty cool too. Or maybe being the king of the jungle. It would be nice to be at the top of the food chain (minus us of course). I think that one of the coolest animals to be would be a jaguar or a cheetah. Not only can they run extremely fast, but they can climb trees and live a rather lackadaisical life. They are a creature of mystery as well and can move without being detected. They are some of the greatest predators out there. Yeah, I think that of all of the animals that I could be, I would choose one of those two.

Another kind of random thing to think we as human not try to take on some of the characteristics of other species? Perhaps it is not such a trivial question after all. One might argue that many of the innovative minds have looked to animals for ideas. Take, for example, the Wright brothers. Although these men were the inventors of the first airplane, they were by no means the first animals to experience flight. Birds have been flying high above the ground for millions of years. As a child, I remember looking up and wishing that I could fly like them and experience the world from their view. Is it not possible, probable even, that the wright brothers had similar dreams and wishes? In fact, did Daedalus not fashion the wings for him and his son out of the feathers of birds? He saw that birds could fly wherever they wanted, and realized that if he only had wings like the birds he and his son could escape exile. Like many humans after him, Daedalus saw another species do something that he could not and attempted to fashion a new contraption that would allow him to do that thing which he could not. One could tie sky diving, flying in air planes, hang gliding, and gliding through the air with the newly invented gliding suits all to the flight of birds. Although there are few people that would truly rather by a bird than a human, there are billions who would love to have some of its abilities.

What other inventive ideas might have originated from someone observing other species? Two possibilities are snorkeling and scuba diving. Obviously, humans were not equipped with gills. Therefore, although they can stick their head underwater for a very short period of time, they cannot naturally experience the underwater world. There are many people that will see a whale and wish that they could experience the same world as such a mystical animal. Maybe someone saw a mountain goat scaling a treacherous mountain side, and said to himself, "I wish I could clime such tall and steep cliffs." That is what rock climbing has allowed us to do now. If you were to go to a school playground, it is possible that you would see a few children bounding around on pogo sticks. Again, such bouncing and jumping is an attribute not natural to the human species, but it is to rabbits. People who zip line through the forrests get to move from tree to tree just like monkeys do. It is interesting what connections that can be made.

Although I am very likely over thinking this whole thing, it is very true that people are very curious about the unknown. They want what the don't have. Whether they do get some of their ideas from that which surrounds them or not, it does seem that we try to do things that the animals around us can. How my ramblings in this blog relate to this class I'm not really sure, but it just kind of came out. I'm sure that it is relevant in some way or another.

An Imaginary Life

David Malouf’s fictional story Imaginary Life was by far my favorite piece that we have read. Malouf’s incorporation of the little known facts about Ovid and his life into an imagined story of his exile was great. Although components of this book are similar to many of the pieces of literature that we have read thus far for this class, the piece that it shares most in common with is Ovid’s Metamorphosis. Not only is the protagonist Ovid himself, but the theme of transformation and metamorphosis is present throughout the book.

For Malouf, the word metamorphosis does not merely apply to myths and legends. It is an occurrence that every human being goes through. A quote that really stuck out for me was, “We have some power in us that knows its own ends. It is that that drives us on to what we must finally become. We have only to conceive of the possibility and somehow the spirit works in is to make it actual. This is the true meaning of transformation. This is the real metamorphosis” (64). I feel like this is a very powerful idea. Although this intentional form of metamorphosis is much different than the kind represented in Ovid’s stories, it is refreshing and encouraging. I love that he states that we can change according to our hopes and beliefs, and that it is not all out of our control. It gives hope to those of us who want to become better, or different, people.

Intentional change, however, is not the only one presented in the book. Ovid and the Child both transform when transplanted into a world different then their own. Immersion in another culture, in my opinion, always changes a person and the way they view the world. At one point Ovid even says “Seeing the world through this other tongue I see it differently. It is a different world” (65). The incorporation of another language into his life adds new facets to both him as a person and to the way in which he views the world. The Child helps expand his view on the world even more, and causes Ovid to transform one again. Ovid sees himself in a different way after spending time with the Child, and as death takes over he feels that he is one with the universe. It is a beautiful moment in the text.

Another transformation, although much more subtle, was that of the seasons. I loved the way in which Ovid incorporated the different seasons and the way in which they affected the lives of the people. In winter, the birds are gone and the people must stay inside. The spring, however, is filled with joy and new life. The seasons not only transform the world of nature, but everything that lives in it and is a part of it.

I really enjoyed Malouf’s book. I thought that it did a good job of incorporating much of what we have discussed overall in this class. I loved his own forms of metamorphosis as well, and the way in which it coincides with Ovid’s. The book almost brought new light to some of the other pieces as well, and helped me to further enjoy them.