Classical Literature

QUESTION DESCRIPTION

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!!!!!!

LIT 102, Introduction to Classical Literature

Topics for PAPER 1

load it up through blackboard – turnitin

  • Choose one of the following topics.
  • Collect arguments in favor of your position AND in favor of the opposite thesis from the source-text .
  • Write a 900-1000 words paper.
  • It needs to contain a clearly stated and supported argument, including a counter-argument and its refutation.

Topics

  • Medea: Seneca’s version of Medea deprives/adds an essential element from/to the older Greek version (Euripides’ Medea).Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Medea: Is there a logic behind Medea’s actions? And what is the rationale behind Jason’s actions? Compare Seneca’s and Euripides’ plays. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Medea/Oedipus:in how far does his drama (choose either Medea or Oedipus) reflect Seneca’s stoic philosophy? Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Medea:To what extent is Medea motivated to her actions by considerations about her social status (before and after the divorce)? Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Medea: Compare the Medea in Ovid’s letter to Jason (BB) with the Medea in Euripides’ play. Make a claim about what Ovid’s and Euripides view of women. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Oedipus: Discuss the topic of seeing and blindness in the play.
  • Oedipus: what exactly is the cause of Oedipus’ horrific fate and/or what is the morale of this story? Is his own hybris the cause of his downfall? Is it the gods, who want to demonstrate something by the example of Oedipus? Make a claim and corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Plautus:As soon as Menaechmus II has come to Epidamnus, he forgets why he has actually come there. The narrator announces this strange affair in his introduction. Of course, our play is a comedy and therefore strange things can happen. But does it harm the play? Do you see other inconsistencies? Suggest modifications in the plot with which Plautus could have lent more plausibility to the play. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:Dido and Aeneas: Argue that not only within Virgil’s narrative but also for the Roman audience of Virgil, Aeneas did the right thing to cancel his relationship with Dido. In other words: why is Dido’s behavior problematic for a Roman? Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:Virgil’s Aeneid as Augustan propaganda. Show that Virgil’s audience could interpret the Aeneid as propaganda for emperor Augustus. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:Virgil’s characterization of Aeneas. Show the tension between Aeneas’ sense of duty and his desires. How do Aeneas’s piety and sense of duty change as the poem unfolds? In how far is Aeneas behaving like any human being, in how far does he bear the traits of a divine hero? Use: Virgil’s Aeneid – concentrate on 1 book, e.g. book I or IV Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:Reincarnation? Argue for or against the thesis that Virgil’s religious and philosophical convictions implied a belief in reincarnation, as can be taken from bk 6 of the Aeneid. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:Virgil’s Aeneid, bk 2: contrast the behaviors and characterizations of the Trojans (i.e. Romans) with the Greeks. How does Virgil give account of the question why, if the Trojan mirror the Romans, the Trojans let their city be taken. What is the Roman audience to make of this defeat of their ‘original’ city? Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:The role of madness/fury in Virgil. Why does madness and fury play such an important role in Virgil’s Aeneid? Think of Juno, Dido, Allecto and Turnus. Formulate a thesis and corroborate it with proof in the text. Focus your argument on 1 character. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:Compare Virgil’s scene of Aeneas’ descent into the underworld with Homer’s ‘original’ version (Aeneid VI and Odyssey XI). What changes in depictions do you see and what does that tell you about possible transformations in religion in culture from the Greek world anno 700 BCE to the Roman world in the first century BCE? Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:DEFEND or ATTACK: Dido is responsible for her own misfortune. She is too emotional, and lacks self-control; her death, though regrettable, is a warning against the dangers of excessive passion. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:DEFEND or ATTACK: Vergil’s depiction of Aeneas’ mission as incompatible with personal happiness for him and personal happiness (and perhaps life) for Dido implies criticism of the values of Augustan Rome. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:DEFEND or ATTACK: Aeneas’ actions in Book 4 are a model for men of his time to serve the state (or the community) rather than personal goals. Aeneas’ departure from Dido is his greatest act of heroism, or pietas. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:DEFEND or ATTACK: Vergil sees women as victims and views them and other powerless or defeated characters with a sympathy that outweighs his admiration for the strong and powerful. Refer in your claim to at least Dido plus either Camilla or Juturna. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
  • Virgil:DEFEND or ATTACK: Both the unhappy end of the love affair between Dido and Aeneas and the violent end of book 12 of the Aeneid prove that Virgil has a pessimistic view of human kind. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.

As well as thinking literally about blindness in Oedipus (Teiresias, in particular) consider the relationship between knowledge and sight. Does Oedipus have any insight into things – can he, perhaps, see better without his eyes? Compare Seneca and Sophocles. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.

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