Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March 27/29 Class Notes

Next Exam:

Tiresias-man to woman to man
Atalanta- lion
Myrrha- tree
phaeton's sisters- poplar trees
Niobe- weeping stone
Pyramus and Thisbe- Red mulberries
Venus and Adonis- wind flower
Lycaon- wolf
Arethusa- stream
Cygnus- swan
Erysicthon- daughter= power to change in to anything
Hercules and Deianira - Constellation/ Nessus- poison shirt
Peleus- Thetus -shape shifter
Salamacis and Hermaphrodi - one body
Prosperpina- cyane - water and owl
Echo and Narcisus- echo and narsissus flower
Midas- ass's ears
clalystos Archus- the bears, ursa major and ursa minor
Semele- explosion
Pygmalion- perfect woman
Lychus- Rock
Birth od Hercuels-= midwife into a weasle
4 ages: gold to silver to brass to iron, each is progressively worse
Lycian peasants = frogs

Friday we will use to study

  • The symposium
  • Lysistrata
  • iphogenia @ Aulis
  • Trojan Women
  • Ovid's Metamorphosis
  • An Imaginary Life

Make questions that get to the heart and are not fecisious for friday

Christina's blog

  • an imaginary life
  • water carriers of Savile

Being to read blogs of all fellow students especially An Imaginary Life, look for visual examples of stories from ovid

What is it that makes these stories so facinating

Sunday, March 29, 2009

the power of a story

It has occured to me as we listen to many students in our class tell stories from Ovid. While the tales themselves are quite entertaining, I find it even more facinating that an individual is telling it, and it is a true STORY, in the sense that we listen to it for entertainment, and the class part of it is set away from our mind for a brief period of time. There have been numerous studies(heres where i found some information) showing the power of story telling in school, as well as learning, basically it shows that students retain better because they can at times relate better to emotions and some situations than if they had just read it out of a text book. Now obviously this is meant for younger kids, but I still think it has relevance for us. Who is not captivated by a good story, whether it starts out "man, i was so wasted last night" or "so there was this guy" to us they are just as captivating as "Once upon a time." When we hear a tale that begins this way, it is almost as though it sucks us in, and we begin to memorize every detail with the hopes that we can entertain someone else in much the same way we were. A driving force for many people is the ability to make another laugh, (especially when it is not directed at you but at your story). I believe there has to be an endorphine release that runs through our body and makes everything feel better. Story telling was also passed down for many many many generations, it is so ingrained in us, is it not a wonder why we learn better when things are placed in a story setting? Stories facinate us and they allow us to share much of ourselves in the process. Without a story to tell I believe we would be empty people, because without a tale to tell,( for one we wouldnt be english majors) and we would not be living life to its full potential, by learning from stories, sharing them, and helping others with them along the way.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

And then one day....

Once there was a young girl, smart, independent etc, etc. She lived her life just by the books, always perfect, with the right clothes the right schooling, the perfect grades, and of course the perfect boyfriend. Everything was perfect....or so it seemed. And then one day she was sitting by the pond (on a blanket of course, one wouldnt want to get dirty) reading, when her very handsome boyfriend came up. He really was quite stunning she thought to herself. He was tall, and mild mannered, with the breathtaking smile designed to make your heart melt, however today all she could think about was how imperfect being perfect was. As he sat down beside her she decided it was the time for some questioning. "Why are we together?" she asked him...."uhh why do you ask?", the girl can do nothing but roll her eyes "forget about it" later that evening she made a decision....what was the point in being perfect? she asked herself, When people are truly meant to be imperfect shouldn't those screw ups and pitfalls be enjoyed. The mess ups are the spice of life.
In the dead of night she packed up her things and took off, hey if she was going to be imperfect, she figured she might as well start off with a bang! the road was long and trying, many a bad hair day followed, along with a rainy day, and one or two missing garments. She had been traveling for some time when she came upon a small town, it had rained the day before, and she was not looking her best. her hair was a mess, and her clothes slightly misshapen. As she neared the town she saw a young man who was being beat up by a much larger oaf of a man. The girl was outraged, she had never seen such a thing,(because perfect people never fight) she saw a large branch lying nearby. she picked it up and crept be hind the oaf who had the young man pinned up against a wall. The young man's surprise showed when she hit the oaf in the back of the head..knocking him uncouncious.
The young man was so releaved, but slightly embarrassed as well. He stared at her for a few minutes, and then ran back to his village. At this the girl became quite upset, she had just done something quite extraordinary and he did not even appreciate her hard work. The girl was so furious that when she got to town, she searched out that same young man. This man, who happened to be about the same age was working in the local library. She began to yell at him, telling him how ungrateful he was. This went on for some time until the young man finally placed a hand over her mouth, and held up a piece of paper. The paper stated that the young man was mute, and partially deaf, which is why the oaf and caught him in the first place and noone had come to his rescue. The girl was contrite, but began laughing at the same time. In the process of being imperfect she had made a mistake that made her look like an idiot. At the bottom was a note for asking if the girl would marry him. Taking out her pen she politely replied no, because it is much better to have friends in strange places rather than romantic attachments. And so the young man and young woman aged with little grace and many mistakes, but happy none the less.

how does this relate to class? The girl was transformed, of her own concious doing, this particular choice, just happened to make her happier. It is true that through out ever one of the pieces of literature that we have read, the characters were allowed decisions, just as this young girl was. Also the mistakes made by each character apply to this little tale as well. Each person just wants to be happy, and mistakes and decisions help lead us to that particular point.

March 25 Class Notes

On monday have your thesis statement ready for what you are going to write your essay on.

  • end of an era
  • influenced more people, especially artists, than any other author
  • most pictorial of all authors
  • interested in eathing disorders (kind of like Oprah)
  • look at deborah's blog for ovid's exhile
  • most famous author in augustan rome, had many erotic works

And then one day...

  • in year 8 emperor augustis banished ovid for political reasons, claiming his crimes were worse than muder
  • david malouf wondered what it was like to be cast to the end of the earth
  • ovid was cast to Tomis by the black sea

An imaginary life

The Beast within Us
David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life is an extraordinary piece exploring the fictional life of a not so fictional poet, Publius Ovidius Naso, or Ovid. This tale takes place while he is exiled from the Roman Empire, to a place where no one speaks his language, and the people there seem exceedingly primitive. His world seems quite desolate, until he learns of the “Wild Child” living in the woods nearby. This child, this idea of a human raised by wild animals, seemed little more than myth to Ovid, and consequently he is captivated by it. Though this is a fictional tale, and a modern one at that, it has much to do with the Classical Literature class.
First of all are we all not captivated by the myths we hear in class? We become fascinated by them turning them over in our minds, contemplating their relativity to our everyday experiences. Ovid was consumed by this idea of a “Wild Child” and he wanted to know everything about this creature that was on the same playing level as a myth come to life for him. He worked and thought about the Child, and eventually brought him back to the village where he began to teach him how to speak, and the ways of humans. Are we not much the same? If we find something that is out of the ordinary, something of myth, would we not try to take it home with us, in our own mind maybe trying to make a better life for that same creature? The theme of our class is “all that is past possesses the present”, to me this means that we are related to that which his no longer here, and it also serves as a studying tool, so that we might learn from others past experiences.
The people in the town are much the same as people today, in that individuals are still wary of new ideas. For the town people it was the Child, for us it is Cloning. These people, these ideas are terrifying by nature, and for some simply mean demons. Some will go out of their way to rid the world of these things and ideas. But are not these “new” things a representation of our imagination. Our imagination is continually poked and prodded, others mock it, and still we continue on our set course to understand, and explore it more. Just as Ovid wanted to understand the child, so do we want to understand myths and our own imagination. By following his imagination and striving to understand the child Ovid learned so many things, and perhaps that is what actually saved him, the idea of something exciting something that could have jumped right out of the pages of one of his stories. Perhaps if we were to follow our imagination more we would live a more vibrant life, after all we would be learning something new (or remembering it as it were) and that in and of itself makes one want to get up in the morning, no matter how stressful the day is going to be.
This book, though not actually a Classical book, still is relevant to our class. If there is something to be learned from the past, something that we might understand (even if it is fictional) then we should know to follow our imagination and understanding myths is not a bad thing, especially when you are fascinated by them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The tales in Ovid's metamorphasis all share on thing in common, the theme of changing. Sometimes a person is changed into a beast, while at other times a man may be changed due to blood on a piece of clothing. In some way through out the tale a transformation occures within the characters. All these things seem mythological, however they seem to be a metaphore for the real reactions of humans.

In Actaeon, he is turned into a stag for viewing Diane naked and bathing, quite literally he becomes horny. Is he not like so many young people, men and women, viewing that which is forbidden. No matter how wrong it may be, or how detrimental it may be to us, we are still drawn to it. Is a part of us changing or are just acting on our baser instincts. Perhaps part of what draws us to these things which are forbidden is the fact that they are forbidden, and against the rules, and perhaps for a brief fleeting moment, it feels right, and good, and we want to continue upon this course. Our baser instincts that lead us, are the "animal" in us, much like the stag that Actaeon is turned into. We continue upon these paths only be lead to a place that brings harm to us. As beasts we are torn apart by the beast within us, and the beasts around us that continue to hunt that which is forbidden, mayhap the warning in this particular tale is to not be held captive by the beast within us, no matter the small gratification it offers.

Changing almost seems to offer a way out, by saying that it is not our fault, that we were over taken by something that which we cannot control. If all the characters made excuses for their transformations would that make them less valid? I believe so, because with each new transformation is another person behind it, and as such blame can always be placed elsewhere. I think maybe it is time that we stop making excuses for the actions and "transformations" that happen within us. Maybe then we will learn the lessons quicker and without so many pitfalls.

March 23 Class Notes

Metampsychosis: is reincarnation, most especially of the soul into another form, including plants animals, as well as rocks.

Classical Literature

  • Greek and Roman literature

  • In another class one would read something from Homer (Illiad etc.) but we read Homeric Hymns

  • for the greeks one would read:

  • something from the 3 tragedians (Antigone)

  • something Phylisophical plato or aristotle (the symposium)

  • something from ancient comedy usually Aristophanies or Plautud (Lysistrata)

  • for the romans (which is derived from the greeks)

  • Virgils Aneun

  • instead we ready Ovid's Metamorphasis

Our class may seem scattered, just as Ovid's tales seem to be, however Ovid's are all connected by the common theme of change


  • Antigone:

  • Formal Tragedy: text that follows certain principles

  • Catharsis: a part of formal tragedy, it is a purging of the feelings of pity and terror

  • why are we attracted to things that repell us

  • if you are depressed after reading one of these tales there is either something wrong with you or the author, because one should be able to leave the feelings behind because we have purged them from our being.

  • the writer represents these so we do not have to, it cleanses us, by witnessing violence

Man Reading:

  • read at the beginning of the year, may have seemed irrelevant, now it makes sense

  • the obituary, of the man who was preceded in death by his 5 yr. daughter, now reminds us of Hecuba burying her grandson, we now understand her speach as well


  • the plane crash in butte, helps to show the tragedy of the loss of a young life.

  • all is suffering all is fleeting

  • Andromica in the Trojan Woman, was the woman who lost a child, coincidentally she was played by the mother of Natashia Richardson, who died this past week.

  • Coincidence is alwasy 1 in 3

  • There was a suicide in California, a professor of Ocean Studies, who was the son of Sylvia Plath who committed suicide, and was a famous poet, who was married to Ted Hughes, who translated the book we are reading......he lost a son

  • Someone must exorcise all these tragedies for us, so they do not happen to us, who will write them down?

  • if you do not write about something it will never leave you alone.

If you believe that you can do something better than the gods and succeed you will be punished.

Marsius played the flute better than appollo who hung him up

Ovid wrote his book in the year 8, he was a contemporary of jesus christ. the writing of this book marked the end of an era, the end of classical literataure and mythology.


  • one min. presentations on wednesday, on piece you had to read.
  • read an imaginary life:
  • write one page and post on blog on what does the book have to do with the class due next monday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 13 Class Notes

On monday, do one min presentations on a story from Ted Hughes Tales from Ovid

Worst that can be imagined was explored and close to perfected by Shakespeare.
  • Titas Andronicus= eating other people
  • King Lear= old man loses his daughter, one character edgar has infamous quotes
  • "It's never the worst as long as you can say 'this is the worst'" this being a reference to the daughter having her tongue ripped out, and creating a tapestry to tell the story
  • "the worst returns to laughter"

Everyone should read Ovid because it is essential to our literature, and if you took it out of Shakespeare you would lose close to 90% of his work

Situations can always get worse as long as you can convey your meaning in some way.

Sophie's Choice with Merele Streep, shows the worst choice for a parent


  • buries grandson, on her son's sheild
  • her grandson once said that when she died he would cut his hair and lead his troops past her tomb, but that will never happen
  • he was the child whom the greeks feared
  • this fear is the fear the comes when reason goes away
  • gives up everything she has to the child
  • places a black shrowd over him
  • she has very few gifts to give the child to take with him to the underworld
  • she would have dressed him on his wedding day, but instead is dressing him for his funeral
  • her one consolation is that his father will be there to greet him
  • He had to be killed because the greeks thought he would grow up and seek revenge


  • summoned by her father to "marry Achilles"
  • really he wants to summon the winds by sacrificing her since she is a virgin
  • the sun means more to her people than anything else "the sun has never seemed so bright"
  • she will die proudly with grace and beauty
  • death will be her wedding, her children and her glory.
  • In the short time that Achilles knows her he falls in love with her
  • says he will fight the entire army for her
  • she doesnt want him to die, and asks that he live through the war
  • she will not let her mother mourn, or be mad at her father
  • wants to see her brother Orstes, who later kills his mother, to avenge his father, who killed Iphogenia
  • Asks her mother to not blame her father, Agamemnon
  • **in the book there is a miss print, she really did die, and was not saved by Athena, and a deer sacrificed in her place**

Monday, March 16, 2009

Class Assignments for Monday 23

Allan, Jacuelyn 4 Ages
Axline, Nicholas Lycaeon
Bandstra, Abbie Flood
Basirico, Grace Phaethon
Belcourt, Anne Callisto
Bjorklund, Cloe Prosperpina
Bowles, Shauni Arethusa
Brenna, Deborah Tiresias
Browing, Elizabeth Echo and Narcissus
Burke, Sarah Erysochton
Cassidy, Daniel Semele
Drummond, Kris Peleus
Forney, Luke Actaeon
Franquemont, Margaret Myrrha
Gonzalez, Rio Venus and Adonis
Hassler, Jake Atlanta
Hickman, Stacey Phaethon
Kahly, Heather Pygmalion
Kester, Rachel Hercules 1
Killham, Erica Hercules 2 (birth)
Kitchens, Kayla Cygnus
Knox, Sally Arachne
Miller, Ben Midas
Morris, Zach Bacchus
Mullet, Vernice Niobe
Purphey, Caitlin Salmacis
Nelson, Christina Tereus
Omura, Misaki Pyramus
Papal, Jillian Callisto
Potter, Katie Echo and Narcissus
Richardson, Brittany Semele
Riley, Elizabeth Actaeon
Roloff, Samuel Lycaeon
Sarren, Jeremy Atalanta
Schipman, Shoni Pygmalion
Sing, Kristin Hercules 1
Smith, Zach Arachne
Soule, Shelby Bacchus
Stanley, Jenny Lynn Midas
Stoddard, Sam Niobe
Tetzet, Crystal Cygnus
Waters, Alyssa Tereus
Zweilowksy, Brian Pyramus and Thisbe

Thursday, March 12, 2009


In Lysistrata the two choruses argue and exchange insults, and they are quite colorful, as a sister I face this with almost every encounter with my siblings.
Kate: Shut up, Liz you are not as great as you think you are
Liz: Are you kidding me Kate?! At least I'm going to amount to something
Kate: Oh, like anybody would want to be like you
Liz: Enough people do, and I have more friends that you do because I'm nicer
Kate: At least I'm not fake
Liz: Oh, and what are you when you talk to the parents
Kate: Like they even matter
Liz: You don't even appreciate what they do for you
Kate: They just want to control our lives
Liz: Like they could control you, one of these days you are gonna mess up and youll feel like a real JackAss
Kate: Liz, you are such a bitch, god I can't even believe we are related
Liz: Fuck you kate
Kate: Dumb Bitch, Dani is a better sister than you
[exit Liz]
Kate and I did not talk for a long time, when she came to apologize I told her I couldnt deal with her and how much it hurt me.

Sisters get into fights, its just the way it works. But the thing about Love is that no matter what it continues and you will love them through thick and thin and even though they do some pretty shitty things to you. Love is indescribale, but it does transend distance and time. The Trojan women knew love and the many deaths they faced the loved ones lost. The women knew how love would last even after they were diveed up between the Greeks. Sisters were separated, they must have fought and even possibly right before they were separated. Though my sister and I fight fairly often we still love one another and if we were separated nothing would stop us, the same way that the Trojan women were, we would do everything possibly to find one another, and beat all obsticles. Though the times have changed, women, or at least my sister and I have changed very little from the women of the past.

March 11 Class Notes

Over Spring Break use blogs as opportunity to research various texts

Movie: last hours of the war
  • does not do justice to the greek play
  • trojan woman hate Helen: they believe she is the reason for the deaths and the war
  • Trjoan women are to be sold as slaves and concubines

Fall of troy:

  • Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite want to know which of them is the most beautiful, they ask Paris of Troy as an objective party, and they all bribe him, however Aphrodite's bribe is most compelling, she offers the most beautiful woman in the world: Helen, however the problem was she was married to Menelaus the King of Sparta. Paris takes her, or convinces her to leave depending on the interpretation. The Greeks pursue her and so the Trojan war begins...

Back to the Movie/ Book

  • Hecuba wants Menelaus to kill Helen...before he sees her, fore she knows if he lays eyes on her he will be swayed by her beauty.
  • Helen on the other hand must convince Menelaus not to kill her, she asks what her fate is
  • Hecuba says she must not die without being heard.
  • Helen asks who really began the evils, she says Hecuba when she gave birth, and Priam when he did not stop his son's actions,
  • Helen says she really had no part in it because she was seduced by Paris and Aphrodite.
  • She believes that it is her doing, and because of her capture that the Greeks have no enemies, if they had not treated her as an object then they would not be in this position in the first place
  • Says when Paris died, she should have left, and claims she tried


  • Paris was beautiful, and Helen was seduced by his beauty and his money, she enjoyed having the eastern men watch her and she liked having all the beautiful clothes
  • believes that Helen would have gone with the winner no matter who it was
  • wants the men to spit on Helen
  • Tells Helen that she should have come to her husband with shame begging for forgiveness
  • Reminds her of all the families that were lost
  • wantes Menelaus to be worthy of his crown
  • Menelaus stops her from killing herself
  • says he will giver her to the Greeks to kill


  • The Trojan women are the only ones left at the end of the war
  • Casandrea went crazy possessed by Apollo, but no one believes her.
  • she knows that Greeks are going to get it
  • Athena withdraws her protection with them
  • Helen's sister was Cytomnestra they married the two powerful greek men, Menelaus and Agamemnon respectively.
  • Hecuba had two daughters: Ployzena is dead, killed as a sacrifice to Achilles, Cassandra is Agamemnon's concubine, her daughter in law Adremicha was married to Hector
  • Hector is dead, and they had a son who is about six years old
  • she is given two choices, because no man will take the heir of Troy he must be killed, so she either fights and they take her son and they don't bury him or she gives them her son and they still kill him and they give him a proper burial.

Tragedy: the worst thing is to live, especially after the death of loved ones
Aristotle said Euripedies understood the heart of comedy, and the worst possible outcome is to live after everyone lives

Trojan Women Actors and information

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Justin

When I think about tragedy and its association with comedy, and how you must understand them both to be truly appreciative of either, I think of Justin.

August 25, 2007. Just another day, the first week of school. It was hot out, but really dry at the same time. It was my best friend, Justin, sister's birthday. Lunch time rolls around and everyone gets in their cars and race down to the local IGA to get food. Justin hops in the car with his friend Clint and two other guys from our class. They head out of town.

I was sitting in Spanish class. Usually Justin met me by our lockers and we went to class together. He didn't show up, or to our next class. I was mad at him, he didn't show, and I expected him to. As I left class Justin's sister came up to me "Justin was in a car wreck" "I figured" was all I could reply, and walked away. He had broken his ribs, but the principle said he was fine.

I was worried but I went to volleyball practice anyway, my coach seemed indifferent. I was scared the rest of the evening, but i continued to the rodeo where I was to sing the National Anthem. I was walking with my friend Jackie, and her younger brother ran up and told me Clint had died. Complete shock, it is the only way to describe it, the blood drained from my limbs and I was completely numb. Jackie punched her little brother. What could I do, I just had to sing, Jackie came with me and held my hand.

I went home that night, I found out Justin was placed in intensive care in Billings, my mother promised to take me there the next day. I did not sleep that night.

The next day I had a volleyball tournament, I got on the bus and everyone was silent...until I sat down. Suddenly the rumors were flying Justin was in denver, his lung was punctured, they took out his spleen, he had been life flighted...there was nothing I could do. Finally I called my friend Myles who was there with Justin, where ever he was.

Justin was on a breathing machine, Myles said. He was in Billings, and he was fine. He had woken up and Justin's father and Myles had spent some time with him. He was weak, and the only thing he could do was move his hands. They said he would make an L with his finger then point to his face, and scribble things in the air. He did this over and over again. He was getting frustrated until finally they figured out what he was saying. L-I-Z. He wanted me to know he was okay, that he was alive, and he wanted me there. All I could do was cry in relief

We flew up to Billings as quickly as our car would take us. We rushed to the hospital, Myles, our friend Kim and I embraced as soon as we saw each other and just held on to one another. Finally I went up stairs. Justin's parents had not seen him that day because they wanted me to beable to see him.

The walk to his room was done as quickly as possible, but took forever, a sense of doom came upon me, up until I saw his face. We looked at each other and broke down. "Don't cry Liz, I'm fine, Please don't cry" which of course made me cry more. All i could do was hold his hand and stroke his hair.

A horrible tragedy, a young life was lost, just as the most horrible of all tragedies are, however if there is one thing that I learned from this, it is that love matters, platonic, lovers, it does not matter, as long as it is present, just as in the Symposium, love is all. To appreciate the good there must be bad, for me I know I love stronger, because of my justin and the tragedy that hit us both.

March 9 Class Notes


  • pg 22
  • tear your balls off
  • unpleasant flighting between the choruses
  • Arostophanes shows himself as a masoganist
  • pg 23
  • flighting
  • example The Sandlot
  • old men and old women fighting = old hag, not your slave, you can't judge me, set fire to your hair
  • women are victorious because they scueltch the men's fire
  • commisioner comes in, the men want the women punished
  • pg 27
  • can't let women win
  • Lysistrata says, the women will starve the war todeath, because the women take care of the money, they are the planners and managers
  • the men protest it is not the same because women do not fight in wars
  • men support more war like leaders
  • the women dress the councelor up as a women and then as a corpse
  • pg 34-35
  • women use a wool metaphor,
  • take something dirty and clean it until it is good and useful
  • women fight war two times, they have sons and lose them as well as their husbands to the war
  • men believe justice is up to them


  • understand the making fun of it
  • not biological in the penis sense but in the symbolic sense as a male view of the world
  • such as the Lewistown Canons


  • pg 40
  • women no longer staunch in their vows, many are sneaking off
  • lysistrata must change their mind
  • one woman hides a helmet under her dress to give the illusion that she is having a baby
  • REFERENCE TO OVID: Tarius goes to retreive sister in law, and falls in love and rapes her
  • pg 48
  • Ciresas is only interested in sex, not is son or anything else
  • pg 57
  • all men are depicted wearing cloaks, w/ erections
  • Aristophanes insists things must work out in the end which is comedy in general


  • pg 61
  • PARABASIS when chorus looks out at the audience and seaks as one
  • sense of comeraderie and reconciliation with characters and the audience
  • pg 64
  • representation on cover of book is allegorically as the stuffed doll
  • resolving Pelepenesian war
  • absolutly necessary for comedy

Th Golden Ass

  • the original mid summer's night dream


  • ends happily


  • pg 72
  • importance of reconciliation
  • gives up hosility
  • feast, weddings, and dancing are all in comedies
  • comedy is about the community
  • tragedy is about the individual


  • to stand outside yourself

Trojan Women

  • melodramatic
  • Aristophanies has the best sense of tragedy because he had a tragic sense of life
  • Agamemnon comes home and it is not going to be good
  • Ajax raped Cassandra
  • Poseiden and Athena decide the Greeks must be punished for this mis deed
  • Agamemnon killed his own daughter
  • he is killed by his wife and her lover, because of his folly

Thursday, March 5, 2009

March 4 Class Notes

Recent translations of ancient texts tend to be more blunt
Lysistrata especially uses Flying text which is conversation that leans on the side of crude and vulgar

The Symposium
  • must be seen in context
  • is a benign sort of Flying,
  • everyone has a different view
  • human situations

It is not important what you can DO with your degree, but it is important what you can LEARN from your degree.

Parent of Love= poverty and plenty


  • an intermediate spirit
  • humans operate a different level
  • in the end what we quest for is Beauty so it is a quest that starts there can in in a lover of wisdom and that of immortal and the good
  • love is a part of the activity of loving
  • using language is Erotic


  • not a speech, it is a story, a narrative of love
  • desires Socrates but it is never consummated
  • his being a love should be valued
  • addicted to Socrates because of his inner beauty
  • (Plato understood the power of a Frame narrative)
  • Similar to BBC movie Almost Strangers


  • most primitive comedy is Gross and Aggressive
  • Translated by Sara Rooden who is a woman, and is making a name for herself as one of the foremost translators of classic literature

Burning of Library in Alexandria

  • lost so many precious, and ancient texts
  • was burned by anti-intellectuals

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lysistrata's Men

Wow what a book! I find it fascinating that in a world where women were little more than slaves that a tale so intricate, filled with feminine power was created, and by a man no less. The unity of women is quite fascinating to me.The women who by all odds should have been enemies as well managed to come together for a common good. Perhaps this is a further illustration of the difficulty of understanding the female mind.

These women especially the Sparta women come from a warrior culture, and by all means should be accustomed to war. This is after the Trojan war, so fighting is obviously a part of their history that is very important to them. One would assume that they would have followed their men and sons and supported them, fore the men were fighting for something they truly believed in so why weren't the women supportive? Maybe they understood that lives were not worth the cause, whatever it may have been.

By coming together the women managed to do something that few cultures had managed to do before or since them; they stopped a war with little to no violence. They suffered for the greater good. Though this book is quite light hearted there is some very serious subject matter, the women themselves face the possibility of being brutalized and of being raped for the sake of the men that are doing the very dastardly deeds to them.

Withholding sex was very smart of them, and they managed to control the men, even though they were denying themselves as well. Most humans, I would assume, enjoy sex and as such can be controlled through it. Essentially the act could be handled alone, however if we follow the belief of Aeristophanies that we are all meant to be with a single person, then the act of procreation does not have the same level of pleasure as if we were with our true loved one.

Truly these women were quite cunning, and did everything that men said they were: manipulative, cunning, and (in their mind) false. However, they did what was necessary to save these men, and perhaps they should have been more appreciative once it was all said and done, because these same manipulative, false women, saved their lives.

March 2 Class Notes

Lysistrata is obscene,
off stage, that which is not fit in front of an audience was considered obscene

Finnegan's Wake
  • Anne Olivia is reflecting on her life
  • she is turning back into the river
  • wants one who understands her
  • most famous unread book in the world
  • motion of the words, holds a musicality and a sense of language and poetry
  • most beautiful passage of literature in the English language
  • Feminine principle at work, she is all women
  • Read James Joyce!!!!!

Thee Skin of Our Teeth By Thorton Wilder

  • interpretive Finnegan's Wake

Leave behind the notion that you must understand everything

Read Jennylynn's Blog on Symposium

  • Teacher's guide
  • can revisit her beautiful rendition


  • basic context of the speakers
  • historical context ex: Socrates was killed because he was "corrupting the youth of Athens"
  • Most enjoyable thing to do is recall Socrates


  • Greek word for truth
  • Look at Pullman's trilogy (the Golden Compass) will find "truth seekers"
  • Letha means to forget
  • A= not
  • in consequence literally translated truth is to not forget or REMEMBER!!!
  • we have forgotten everything


  • love and sacrifice


  • heavenly love vs. common love


  • love harmonizes us


  • we are tallies (coins broken apart and used for recognition)
  • look for soul mates and are a part of a broken half and look for the other that completes us


  • Love is beautiful and perfect


  • love can't be beautiful because of desire
  • love is desire, love is wanting loves meaning
  • love is an intermediate stage
  • love is looking for that which we doe not have
  • he learned it from Diotima
  • she said love is a great spirit between the gods and mortals
  • it is the immortality of the human soul
  • we must start at the bottom (rock) and work up to love that is more complicated
  • love the notion of the GOOD


  • praises Socrates
  • he is the worst because he loves him so much

Sunday, March 1, 2009


It has struck me within the last few days how important a Frame narrative is. The Symposium is one such piece, in which we do not really know what the true story could be, because it is so far removed, also Socrates's story in reference to Diotima is also a form of frame narrative. It seems like this could be an odd way of telling a story, or making a point, but is it really?

Our everyday lives are quite similar to a fram narrative. We are living our lives, with a set path, but perhaps every story we tell, or the stories of our friends and family are a story within our stoy. We could take a small chunk of our lives, the portion where we met our future spouse, or our years of high school, and use this small fragment to create an entire story. However, the point is that it is not the full story. There is more to it.

A Frame narrative can capture our imagination like few other things. How often when reading a book do you fall in love with a sub character, one that is seemingly of little importance, however you love the entire book for those two or three "inconsequential" individuals. These little parts can hold just as much drama, and excitement as any major part.

More than anything a frame narrative reiterates the point that there are truly no small parts. Every story is worth telling. Though this story of Socrates and his buddies could have only have been one of many stories, and though it is told through several individuals we can still learn much from it. Just think if this one little portion Socrates's nights out was not told, an entire enthralling novel would have been lost. Though it may have seemed just a bit of gossip at the time it influence a way of thinking far beyond their time.

To me it is comforting and frightening to think that nothing that I do is small, that it has potential to affect so many people. what if I mess it up!!?!??! What if it is detrimental to others, well at this point the only thing you can do is live your life and hope for the best, and that maybe someday we will be looked at as the next Socrates.

February 27 Class Notes

Tengents lead us back to the subject matter, ex. Groundhog's Day to The Myth of the Eternal Return

Alyssa's blog has What do we Talk About When We Talk About Love

Till we Have Faces
by C.S. Lewis
must get back to the basics

  • Homecoming
  • related to nostalgia or loning for home

The Rock is our Communal Sacred Rock, and Stacey found it while walking with her dogs.


  • philosophical phenomenon
  • musical Plato "The Rock is the way to the ONE"

Check out Luke's blog!!!

  • did assignment exactly and correctly
  • when something is interesting tell who the speaker is, whose idea it belongs to
  • background information
  • talks about the links, between his thoughts and the text
  • sets up a way for us to learn
  • tells of the problem of reductionist version of the Symposium,.....you lose the musicality of the work


  • the writer of comedy and tragedy are the same!
  • must be skilled in both
  • must know both parts to understand love
  • everyone wants to believe everything is good, but we must develop a tragic outlook on life
  • there is both happiness and sadness but we must understand it all


  • must know the speaker
  • fifth removed story
  • stories within stories....ex: The Wife Of Bath in the Canterbury Tales
  • Who is telling the truth pg 15