Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This semester has been great. I love classical literature and I had so much fun reading it or re-reading it in some cases and discussing it. I love all the connections we can make. Either through movies and books of the present day to the past or our own Bozeman Chronicle. It has become quite clear that the past possesses the present. I can't help but read into stories now. I look for their link to Ovid or Apuleius. I look to the activists of our time and see Antigone. The doomed romances and the brutal tragedies. Hard to cope with and harder to understand. Why? The death of a child, the rape of a woman. We cry and when we can't cry anymore, we laugh. Or from King Lear, "The worst returns to laughter." As Iphigenia says, "It is wrong to love life so much." We know the story doesn't have a happy ending and we learn to OK with that. There is life after it ends. But either tragedy or old comedy, either focused on the individual or the society, there is something there that teaches us and consoles us. It teaches us to cry at the right times or laugh at the awkward moments. It teaches us to purge our emotions or don't mess with women. It's more than right from wrong. The past teaches us to live in the present. Thank you to all my classmates for your wonderful blogs and presentations. You have taught me so much.

Love vs. Hate

We spent a lot of time talking about love from the Symposium, but not so much on the subject of hate. I think the best example from our readings of hate come from The Trojan Women. Also interesting to note that the Symposium consists of male characters when talking about love and The Trojan Women consists of female characters demonstrating hate. Anyway the Trojan women have watched their husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers die in a lost war. Now it is their fate to be toted away from their homeland to become slaves and concubines. These feelings of grief and bitterness transform into a burning hatred focused on Helen of not so much Troy anymore. Their homes are gone. Their lives are gone. The only thing they have left even in the slightest bit in their control is to see Helen punished for bringing this destruction to them. Hecuba takes up the charge and does her best to present a calm and rational case against Helen. But she escapes their grasp and their justice. She will live. But the hate will remain in the Trojan women's hearts because it is all they have left after watching their love be destroyed.

Reading Favorites

My favorites of the semester in order from best to least:
1. The Golden Ass
2. Ovid
3. An Imaginary Life
4 .Lysistrata
5. Demeter and Persephone
6. To Hermes
7. Antigone
8. Steiner's Antigones
9. Trojan Women
10. Plato's Symposium
11. Iphigenia

Don't Look

The theme of 'don't look' is rather prevalent in classical mythology. Psyche is told not to look at Cupid or in the box of beauty. Orpheus is told not to look back at Eurydice. Pandora is told not to look in the box. What is it that is forbidden to humans? What aren't we suppose to see? Maybe its knowledge. 'Don't look' is different from' don't eat,' but I see the same theme in the Adam and Eve story as well. Something is forbidden and we do it anyway only to suffer the consequences. I think humans need rules to follow. Maybe the knowledge is withheld from us until we are ready to accept it. But we get impatient and want in now. Like when Orpheus looks back at Eurydice. He only had to wait and he would have had her alive again and in his arms. But he needed to see her now or did he need to know what death looked like? Is is curiosity or impatience that is our downfall and our resurrection?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reading into things

Ever since taking my first Sexson class, I can't help but read into things. I looked up a few jokes to post on my oral tradition blog and I discovered two things connected to this class.

The jokes were about marriage and they are the best kind in my opinion. Here is the first.

A man has six children and is very proud of his achievement. He is so proud of himself, that he starts calling his wife, "Mother of Six" in spite of her objections.
One night, they go to a party. The man decides that it's time to go home and wants to find out if his wife is ready to leave as well. He shouts at the top of his voice, "Shall we go home 'Mother of Six?'
His wife, irritated by her husband's lack of discretion, shouts right back, "Anytime you're ready, Father of Four."

This is Niobe! The man brags about all these children he has to someone who holds more knowledge than he does. Soon he finds himself with less children than he started with because of his arrogance. The second joke was a more broadly connected, but I think you will get it.

A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment. Suddenly, the man realized that the next day, he would need his wife to wake him at 5:00 AM for an early morning business flight. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (and LOSE), he wrote on a piece of paper, "Please wake me at 5:00 AM." He left it where he knew she would find it. The next morning, the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 AM and he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn't wakened him, when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed.. The paper said, "It is 5:00 AM. Wake up."
Men are not equipped for these kinds of contests

This is one of the Steiner conflicts from Antigones. Men vs women. And just like in the real Antigone, he is no match for her.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Beware the Women

Did you notice while reading the Golden Ass that most of the villains were female? More specifically female witches who seduced young men and could turn into animals. I mean the whole reason Lucius gets transformed is because of a woman, right? Blame the woman! It was her fault! Wow, that sounds familiar. But we do have to remember that it was also a woman who returned him to his human form and for that he joined the goddess Iris in her religious mysteries. The women in this book have a lot of power. Interesting, huh?

My thoughts on Rent a Family

The story below sounded so outrageous I just knew it had to come from Ovid. But I wasn't sure which story it was at first. I went through the chapter titles and there it was, Pygmalion. Don't like how the world is treating you? Can't stand reality? Then make something false become true and live happily ever after. Create something lifeless and give it life. Pygmalion didn't like the way he saw the women of his city behaving. They were cursed. So he took it upon himself to create the perfect woman. If this woman had an ad in the newspaper today, this would be it. Rent a family. Don't like your family? Replace them with another. Don't have anyone to go on vacation with? Take an imaginary one. Just think about. I don't know if there are any other stories in this article. I'd be happy to hear any ideas you might have.