Group Presentations Day Three

Just a few minutes ago, we all had the pleasure of watching groups 5 and 6 give their presentations and I must say, they both did a great job!

Group fives reenactment of the story of Persephone's abduction and Demeter's frantic searching was pretty funny. I found it quite amusing when "Demeter" puts the baby in the fire and there was a picture of fire on the wall. Very entertaining! And their rendition of the Elusinian Mysteries was very cool. I liked the can of corn. =P
And everyone had awesome finger-snapping abilities!

Group six's show, Whose Myth is it Anyway? was very well done! The dating show was very cute and the party was excellent. I really liked their buddhist-Irish ho-down song at the end.

All in all, great performances! Now off to finals and a warm, sunny summer! Hopefully! =)

Course Conclusion

The Past Possess the Present.

I think "and the Future" needs to be added on to the end of that statement.

So many things in this class connected to so many other things in my life and it was crazy how my eyes were opened to it. Before I learned how to see how things happening now had already happened, I just went through life day by day. Nothing seemed that important and I never really realized how many things connect to each other, even if those things are polar opposites. Between seeing Ovid's Metamorphoses and Lucius The Golden Ass in all the things I do and all the people I know and seeing the conflicts in Antigone in all the conflicts of today, I now know how nothing is unimportant. Everything connects to every other thing just as the past connects to the present and the present will connect to the future.

Dr. Sexson's Classical Foundations in Literature class has opened my eyes to new worlds and connections that I would never have thought possible. In reading the classic works that we have throughout this course, I feel much more enlightened to the broad world out there. Nothing is original except for the voice it has. There can be thousands of translations of one piece of literature, yet each one can sound different. Each one has their own flare. I've always been afraid to write certain things, because it I feel as if I'm not being original. Truth be told, I'm not being original, but the unoriginal will become original because my own voice gives it life.

Thank you Dr. Sexson, for such a wonderful semester. This truly was my most enjoyable class and it was always a treat to attend classes and listen to the connections being made along with the discoveries we all made as a group.

Cheers. =)


Donald "Midas" Trump

For our groups project, we decided to put a modern spin on the story of Midas. Since Katie had prior plans on the due date of our project, we decided to make a video and it turned out great.

We wanted an over the top, ridiculous and funny video with a lot of different references. We made Jesus the character to give Donald the golden touch and also to take it away while also referencing another religious culture by including the golden buddhas.

Most of the video, I thought, was pretty self explanatory. We didn't get too far away from the original story, but still presented elements of our modern times like the text messaging instead of the whispering reeds and the baldness of "Mr. Trump" instead of giving him asses ears.

It was a lot of fun to make and very enjoyable to watch. I really wish whoever has the video now could post it on youtube or maybe burn me a copy? Heh.


Group Presentations Day Two

Group 3 and 4!!

Group three was great! It looked like they put in a lot of work to come up with their play scripts and rehearsals! Out of the three plays they performed, I have to say I enjoyed "Mark and the Toilet" the most. I thought it was really entertaining and even funnier when we found out that it was based on a true story. The Sparagmos Dance was also very amusing! I think Rio should become a beatbox.

Since I'm in group four, I'll just say I thought our video was very entertaining. To be honest, that was the first time I got to see the entire thing all put together, so I really didn't know just how funny it was going to be. I thought Brian was a very good Donald Trump and Zach was a pretty good Jesus. =P

Now on to groups 5 and 6!! Good Luck!


Group Presentations Day One

I loved groups 1 and 2!!
The symposium of group one was hilarious! And I was really surprised to learn that they hadn't rehearsed their speeches. They all just wrote them on their own and read them. I would have thought that at least one or two of them would have been really similar, but they weren't! Each had their own take on love and each of them was interesting and entertaining! I really liked that Kayla breifly came down with the hiccups. =P

Group two's game show was fun! It was quite funny to watch people act out a charade for their team to guess the answer to. I found it a little unfair that my team lost by a LOT! Haha, but no worries, it's the fun you have playing the game that counts.

Group three and four are up next on monday. I'm in group four, so we'll see how that goes.

The Golden Ass

Ah, the Golden Ass.

Where to begin?

I must be honest and say that, behind David Malouf's An Imaginary Life and Ted Hughes version of Ovid's Metamorphoses, this is probably my third favorite book we've read for the class and it ranks pretty high on my list of favorite books of all time.

I enjoyed how many problems Lucius got himself into by being no better than a common ass. The story of the eunich preist probably made me chuckle the most out of all of them. All of the stories that are told throughout the story of Lucius' metamorphoses were very entertaining and I'm very happy with the ending. The Goddess Isis is fascinating and I've been meaning to research her more thoroughly since I've read a couple of other pieces of literature that mention her. The fact that she intervenes with Lucius and allows him to transform back into a man made it a happy ending. And as he becomes Isis' servant, he is transformed in another way and the ending is made even happier.

Who doesn't love a happy ending? Happy endings give us happy feelings.

But there are those stories that a bad ending works wonders on. I couldn't count how many things I've read with a tragic ending that just made the story that much more enjoyable. Those are usually the books I read again.

The Transformation of Lucius otherwise known as The Golden Ass by Apuleius was a good read as well as inspirational.

And another note on this class as a whole, usually I struggle with things that I've been assigned to read. This class, however, was the exact opposite. I enjoyed reading every piece of work we encountered.

Good show!


Presentations Day Three

So I missed Individual Presentations Day 2 to go dance like a monkey for my neurologist. What fun. Elizabeth took wonderful notes, though, so I was able to overview what went on with those.

Today's presentations were great! I especially enjoyed Jake's take on violence in the media and the relation between the past and present violence and Bizz's take on metamorphosis between Lucius the golden ass and Gregor the insect. (I really liked that she referenced the His Dark Materials Trilogy-I'm in love with that series!!) I also liked Nick's power of the eyes. Eyes have always fascinated me. My notebooks consist of thousands upon thousands of doodles involving eyes. Looking at something or someone really is powerful.

Now I'm really looking forward to the group presentations on Friday. I'm curious as to what the other groups came up with. :)

Good luck with presentations!


Soulmates, Love, and Lust

Another late blog. Drafted since February 28.

Why is the idea of a soul mate so appealing to us? Is it because we are always searching for that special someone that is everything we want? Is it because we are indeed only half of a soul and we need our other half to be harmonized and peaceful? Personally, I don’t think soul mates exist and that could just be my own pessimism and Aristophanes argument in Plato’s Symposium does make sense as a metaphor. Who wouldn’t want to believe that we were all once connected as a tally and rolled around doing cartwheels? Heck, I would just like to be able to do a cartwheel, screw being connected to my other half. =P

I’ve never believed in the idea of love at first sight because I believe that you have to know a person before you can love them. I believe love is based on trust and honesty and you don’t have either unless you’ve gotten to know that person. I’d like to think that the people on this planet are all honest and trustworthy, but in reality, can anyone really be that na├»ve? You can watch the news every day and see all the hate and destruction that people wreak. Is it possible to trust someone that has not earned it? Or would you trust someone until they did something to lose your trust?

I think when I was younger, I trusted everyone until they proved untrustworthy, but now that I’m older, I tend to not trust most people and wait until my trust is earned. Is that fair? Is it right? I don’t know. I remember having my cousin Nicole stay with us for a good month one summer. I think I was around 10 years old and she was 11 or 12. It was the month of August and I had just had my birthday and gotten tons of presents from my parents. Nice presents. Nicole and I had a lot of fun together hanging out with all the neighborhood kids and I trusted her. We seemed to be good friends. After two or three weeks, just a little while before she was supposed to go home, I was looking for one of my birthday presents. I looked high and low and got my parents in on the search, but we couldn’t find it. One day, my father took Nicole and I on a walk to 7eleven to get a slurpee (which are amazing, by the way). My mother was sorting things in our guest room where Nicole was staying and noticed her bag open. Laying on top of all her stuff was my present and a bunch of other things. Nicole was apparently a collectomaniac. She’d stored away a bunch of my knickknacks and most of my birthday presents. Not to mention a few things of my parents including my father’s NAVY class ring. Nicole was confronted and her parents were called and she was punished. I think. After that episode, I didn’t trust her much. I couldn’t understand what was going through her mind when she was loading all that stuff up into her suitcase. Had she been lying to me the entire time about everything? I think that is when I stopped trusting people automatically and started waiting for them to prove themselves honest.

Now that I’m almost 20 years old, I see everyone as the same. Instead of trusting someone outright, I view them with indifference. I neither trust them or distrust them, but wait until they do something before I categorize them.

I’ve had plenty of relationships and I’ve dealt with each in the same way. Only two had my complete trust. The others were fun, but unstable. I could never pinpoint what was going on in their heads or what they were going to do next. One such person--we’ll name him Kody--I have dated quite a few times off and on for the past few years. He can be sweet, thoughtful, and fun; but he can also be selfish and an asshole. As of now, I think I have him almost figured out. He uses his ability to be sweet, thoughtful, and fun while he’s being selfish. Just a while ago, actually, he came crawling back for the 5th or 6th time wanting to make something work. He used all kinds of arguments and sweet words but I called him on his BS and he finally caved and admitted to it. We’re still friends but he’s fallen into the untrustworthy category. The only thing I can trust in him is his ability to lie to get what he wants.

The two that did have my trust--we’ll name them Joe and Matt--were wonderful and I did love them. Whatever that means. They gained my trust and our friendship grew. Things happened between us, but they still have some of my trust. I don’t talk to them often, but when I do, the conversations are usually more substantial than general “How’s the weather?” I don’t think any of them are my soul mates, but I do think that the relationship I had with them may be close to what a soul mate relationship is supposed to be and that is one that is based upon trust, friendship, honesty, and caring with a little attraction on the side instead of one based entirely upon lust.

While I don’t believe in love at first sight, I definitely believe in lust at first sight. You can see this portrayed in movies, books, and in real life. Who hasn’t had that guy next to you say, “Damn, she’s hot”? Lust can definitely lead to a relationship of love, but only because lust pushes us to introduce ourselves and make a friendship. After the friendship is made, trust and caring ensue and love can be formed.

But I guess the entire process can never really be turned into an exact formula because love is a tricky topic and there are those random cases where two people fall just about instantly in love. Must be nice, eh?

A Little Law Breaking

This is another late blog. It's been sitting in my drafts since February 18.

I don’t think I’ve really broken the law in serious ways; just the usual speeding, drag racing, breaking and entering, vandalism, underage drinking, the use of illegal pyrotechnics, unauthorized fires, stealing, trespassing, breaking city curfew, evading police, and associating with fugitives. It’s really no big deal, right?

While I won’t go into detail on the majority of all of the above, I will say that committing them was a lot of fun (and slightly dangerous) and they were done with very good friends. =)

The experiences actually brought us together even more than we already were. We shared something exciting and adventurous with each other, and now we can reminisce on those memories for a good laugh.

When I read of Hermes in the Homeric Hymns, I thought of him as a little baby just looking for some devious fun. He really was a stinker, but he was enjoying himself when he stole Apollo‘s cattle. Much like our Family Guy’s Stewie character, he amuses himself through his actions, and, in turn, is amusing to us. Hermes’ first fart joke was amusing in an Old Comedy, bawdy type of way and it makes us chuckle to think of it.

Not all law breaking is done for entertainment, though. Sometimes it is done to uphold some kind of ethic thought. Take Antigone, for example. Antigone actually had a reason to break the law. She stood up for her traditions and morals and illegally buried her brother. She broke the law in a very obvious and public way and suffered the consequences with her head held high.

Antigone’s way of breaking the law was done as a statement of her morals--just like those who are involved in political demonstrations of today--while Hermes just pulled secret pranks for his pleasure.

I definitely relate to Hermes’ method of rule breaking than to Antigone’s. I’d much rather have fun with the law.

And come on, (not to be crude and completely against worldly matters or anything) but which is more interesting and entertaining? Watching the news on a demonstration? Or watching the television show COPS?

Morals vs. Law

So this is waaaay late. It's been sitting in my drafts since February 15. And now, a full two months later, I'm posting it.
So here is that George Steiner's Antigones passage that we were supposed to blog.

I found the following passage to be intriguingly true.

“What is demanded of us is the attempt to think through or, rather, to bring to full life in our moral imagining the enigma whereby the ‘cursed’ deed of Antigone seems to embody the ethical aspirations of humanity whereas the civic legalism of Creon brings devastation.” (Steiner 257)

Sophocles’ Antigone is an example of a debate between what is ethically right and what is lawfully right. It allows us to question what is permitted through ethics and what is permitted through law. A governing body in any society must make laws to control and pacify its people, however, some laws may be disliked because they go against certain morals or traditions, but they are not made to please everyone; they are made to set up boundaries. A current example of debate between ethics and law in our own country would be the argument of gun use and ownership. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the mantra “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” and I’m also sure each of us has our own opinion on what is right. And there’s even the example of God in the public and what the government is doing to appease everyone’s individual rights. It all comes down to which consequence would you rather face for your actions? Would you rather uphold your traditions and morals and stand up for your opinion? Or would you rather uphold the law of government and its search to pacify the people and set boundaries?

I honestly don't know what I would choose and I guess it would depend on what my morals are and how strongly I'm attached to them. Certain morals that concern my family and friends are way up on the list of those that I'm attached to and I feel almost certain that I would choose being ethical if those morals were threatened.


Cupid and Psycheee

The little interlude of Cupid and Psyche in Lucius the Golden Ass was a cute story. I think Psyche is just a little naive and vulnerable and her sisters take advantage of that. They use their bond to her as sisters to manipulate her in order for their lives to seem better. Once Psyche learns of their treacherousness, she manipulates them in her own way and continues the search for her husband. Even though it seemed that she had learned from her first mistake of listening to her sisters and viewing what she was not supposed to, she goes and does it again with the box of make-up. It's only by sheer luck that Cupid finds her and wakens her.

As to the connection to Beauty and the Beast, I suppose I see the connection between the inanimate objects and bodiless voices speaking and serving around the house, but beyond that I'm not sure. Cupid is really not a beast. He's a beautiful creature (and I guess you could count being a creature as a beast, but I don't). The Beast is beastly and bear-like. He's nothing like the beautiful, winged love God. I suppose the beast connection could be made because both the Beast and Cupid are mythical and inhuman beings that have fallen in love with a mere mortal woman. The more and more I think and type about this, the more I'm convinced that yes, I guess Cupid and Psyche do connect to Beauty and the Beast.

I love it when I convince myself of something I didn't really believe at first.

Cupid and Psyche

Here's a little video I found on Cupid and Psyche.

Presentations Day One

So all the presentations today were awesome! I especially enjoyed Katie's experience with the Kagy Chorus and Brittany's short story.
Presenting my own paper reminded me exactly how shy I am and how I'm really not good with public speaking, no matter the size of the group. Oh well, it's over and done with. =)

Sadly, I won't be in class on Monday to see the next 15 presentations. I get to drive to Missoula for a neurologist appointment that was scheduled without my agreement that it would work for me. So instead of enjoying the creativity of our class, I'll be driving. Yay! Not.

If anyone would be kind enough to kind of recap what everyone presents on Monday in their blog, that would be wonderful.

I also think I should probably finish the 11 blogs I have half written in my drafts on here. Hehe, it might be beneficial. So maybe I'll finally get around to it this weekend now that I'm not worried about 2 out of 4 term papers, a stack of books to read, finding an apartment to move into, 5 exams, and being sick. They really like to load up the work in April, don't they?

But hey, there is only 2 or 3 weeks left of classes and exams!! I'm actually a little depressed that this class is just about over, though. It's been very enjoyable and I feel much smarter than I used to. Hah.

So today's presenters were:
Brian Z. who talked about originality and how it's not possible to be original.
Alyssa W. (Me) talked about transmigration/transformation of the soul.
Crystal T. read the dialogue between her and her sister about the class readings and a little about transmigration.
Jennie Lynn talked about laughter in life.
Shelby S. talked about nothing being as it seems.
Zach S. talked about connecting the past with the present through emotions.
Kristin S. talked about the relationship between Roman and Greek gods.
Shoni S. related her movie collection to texts and discussions we've had in class.
Sam R. talked about the short story he wrote about a boy picked up by an older man on the highway who proceeds to give him a sort of life lesson.
Elizabeth R. discussed the comparisons and differences between love and lust.
Brittany R. read some of her short story about falling asleep and waking up in ancient Athens.
Katie P. related her experience of hanging out with Bozeman's own chorus and how the past really does possess the present.
Jillian P. told us about the short story she wrote as well as a paper concerning anamnesis and the difference between knowing something and knowledge/wisdom.

Have a great weekend!

Transmigration and Transformation

If you believe in the transmigration of the soul, then you believe that after death, the soul will transfer into another body. After death, the soul, ka, shade, consciousness or whatever you want to call it, migrates to another body to be reborn and live again. It’s a theory believed by many different cultures and religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, the Egyptians, the ancient Greeks, and many more, and it dates beyond antiquity.

The first actual definition of transmigration came from Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He taught that the soul is immortal and merely resides inside the body. It was believed that the soul must go through a series of rebirths, or, in other words, must migrate from body to body repeatedly, until it completes the sequence and is purified enough to be able to leave the cycle.

Plato, another famous Greek philosopher, agreed with Pythagoras on most points of his theory on transmigration, except for a couple variations. His theory of metampsychosis allows the soul to have a small inkling of knowledge of a past life. He taught that all learning is recollection. The process of recollection, or anamnesis, is a life long process of relearning everything you knew before, and learning new things from it all. With that in mind, in contrast to Pythagoras, Plato believed the soul is initially pure until it comes into contact with a living being, and, upon inhabiting the being, the soul becomes tainted and must be good to eliminate bodily impurities and return to its pre-existence state. Otherwise, the soul will be doomed to spend its time in Tartarus, a place of eternal damnation and believed by some to be the origin of Hell in Christian theology.

In Plato’s Symposium, Diotima speaks to Socrates that "birth is a sort of eternity and immortality." In birth, the soul is reborn and able to live and learn again. Diotima continues to argue Plato’s belief that the soul becomes impure upon contact with a living being by saying, "And this is true not only of the body, but also for the soul, whose habits, tempers, opinions, desires, pleasures, pains, fears, never remain the same in any one of us, but are always coming and going." By experiencing all the "impurities" of life, the soul takes a long time to return to its state of pre-existence. (Symposium 30)

The ancient Egyptians believed that the souls migrated from body to body and this was one of the reasons they embalmed their dead. They wished to preserve the physical body so it could accompany the ka, or soul, after death. The notion of a migrating soul developed into a way to explain family resemblancesthe soul of a deceased person would transmigrate into a new born infant of the same family and cause a similar appearance. This theory of ancestral reincarnation is also believed by the Australian aborigines.

In 533 AD, the theory of reincarnation or transmigration of the soul was declared heresy by the Council of Constantinople on the grounds that it went against the eschatological teachings, or end of the world teachings, established by the orthodox Christian doctrine. Since it is the continual rebirth of the soul, transmigration was contrary to the idea that man has one life to live to merit his heavenly reward or hellish damnation. Early Christians, such as Gnostics, Manichaeans, and Carthari, took Christ’s teachings literally when he replies to Nicodemus in John 3:5-7, "The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven. So don’t be surprised at my statement that you must be born again." Taken literally, Christ says you must be reborn in order to achieve passage into Heaven which is very similar to Buddhism where the soul must be reborn continuously to purify itself before it can achieve moksha, the liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth and freedom from earthly limitations.

Buddhism and Hinduism are very similar in their beliefs towards transmigration. The beliefs of Buddhism and Hinduism are that the continual rebirthing of a soul can move either up or down the ladder depending on its karmic count; good karma will move your soul up the ladder while bad karma will move you down the ladder. This is called samsara. If your soul is good and strives to purify itself, it has the ability to be reborn in its next life as something higher than it was before. Eventually, the soul will have completed the cycle and purified itself enough to experience moksha. The only difference between Buddhism and Hinduism is the former has a method of samsara that includes twelve main causes and six worlds that a karmic count leads to. The twelve causes include ignorance, volitional action, consciousness, form, six sensory organs, contact, sensation, desire, grasping, becoming, birth, and death. The worlds from most favorable to least favorable include the world of gods, demigods, human beings, animals, hungry spirits, and demons. It is undesirable to be reborn into any of the worlds except for the world of the gods.

Transmigration of the soul is a form of metamorphosis in that the soul changes throughout life to either become what it needs to become or to fall back into what it was before. During life, the soul comes across experiences that it has to relearn from a past life and how it reacts to such circumstances will cause the transformation of the soul. In David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life, Ovid speaks that "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 us to make it actual. This is the true meaning of transformation. This is the real metamorphosis" (Malouf 64).

In Ovid’s own works of Metamorphoses, he depicts the transformations of many people into animals. Curiously, most of the people being transformed have offended someone else in their human form and are transformed as a form of punishment. Acteon, for instance, was turned into a stag because he "Stared at the goddess, who stared at him" while she bathed in a pool (Hughes 99). His curiosity got the best of him and his soul’s body was changed. In Apuleius’ The Golden Ass, Lucius’ is transformed into an ass for his curiosity. While his soul is still his and he keeps the memories of the life he has lived so far, but his body has changed.

Social beliefs of reincarnation and transmigration usually have something to do with past lives and ghosts. However, the transmigration of a soul could be so simple a thing as the soul transforming from an earthly or willful creature into a creature of discipline and gentleness. While the soul has no beginning or end, it can transform repeatedly in order to reach its nirvana. In each new life, the soul recollects what it knew before and applies it to situations it may come across. It learns from those experiences and transforms to be ready for its next life, whatever it may be. The body may experience an end, but the soul will live on to repeat life whether it is as a human or a bird or even a tree. Everything is connected to every other thing.

So my paper was very research-y, but I found so many things interesting to me that I couldn't leave it out. Here are some websites I found concerning transmigration and reincarnation that were very interesting.

James Luchte Philosophy - Wandering Souls: The Doctrine of Transmigration in Pythagorean Philosophy

Reincarnation: TheMystica.com

Fundamentals of Buddhism: Rebirth


Study Guide-Quiz II

Study Guide 2

1. First and last words of Metamorphosis Mandelbaum Translation
“My soul would sing of metamorphoses.”
“I shall have life.”

2. What is flyting?
The interchanging of insults.

3. What is a tally?
A broken piece of coin to share with a friend. Occurs in Aristophanes speech at the symposium.

4. Know the Echo and Narcissus story.

5. Which 2 characters from Ovid are models for Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet? Pyramus and Thisbe

6. Name 3 of 7 speakers in symposium.

7. What is metempsychosis?
Transmigration of soul

8. What is catharsis?
Purging of emotions pity and fear (Usually in tragedy)

9. What is the worst thing you can experience according to the Trojan Women?
The sacrifice of a child.

10. What does obscene mean?

11. What is the difference between Old Comedy and New Comedy?
Old comedy is bawdy, lewd humor
New comedy is romantic (boy meets girl, can’t have her, pursues her; weddings, feasts, and dancing)

12. What is Plato’s word for remembering what you forgot?

13. Dr. Sexson says to think of reincarnation as ___.
Poetic thought or metaphor

14.What did Paris choose when offered gifts by the Goddesses?
Most beautiful woman-Helen

15. What character does Aristophanes use to reconcile Lysistrata?
Naked girl named Reconcile.

16. Difference between Sophoclean and Euripidean comedy?
Euripidean is emotional truth
Sophoclean is formal truth

17. According to Sigmund Freud, what do we do to keep from crying?

18. See number 5. Explain what 3 were saying.

19. Tragedy deals with the ___. Comedy deals with the ____.
Individual and Community

20. What is Parabasis?
The part of the play where abuse of the audience takes place. Ancient Comedy

21. In which Ovidean tale do 2 bears become constellations?

22. Woman are taken as spoils of war to become ___.
Slaves and concubines.

23. What is phallocentrism?
Domination by male point of view represented by the phallis.

24. What does Aristotle think is the perfect literature?

25. Symposium - what happens when you see something pretty?
Shoulders start to itch b/c of your wings.

26. What is nostos?

27. What was Niobe turned into?
Weeping stone

28. When a god does something it can’t be retracted.

Know Ovidian Transformations
Narcissus-Narcissus flower
4 ages- Myth of Declintion. Gold, Silver, Bronze, & Iron
Adonis-Wind flower
Myrrha-Tree-from which Adonis was born
Tiresias-Man to woman to man to prophet
Midas-Ass’s ears

Know both Lysistrata Essays
Athenian Women
Greek Comedy

Trojan Women
Iphigenia at Aulis
Ovid’s Metamorphoses
An Imaginary Life



Everything is related in one way or another. Our class theme is “the past possesses the present” and its true. The past does posses the present. The way our minds work and think are because of past experiences and the knowledge that what has happened to us has happened to someone else in some other time. Like the
Circular Theory, everything important happening now has happened before--and everything important will happen again.

David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life is a modern piece of literature, but that does not take away from how it relates to our class. We’re studying classical literature, yes, but also how everything is incorporated in everything else. The most obvious connection a person may make between An Imaginary Life and classical literature is the character of banishment. Ovid. Publius Ovidius Naso. He who is known for his metamorphic literature works way back in year 8 AD. He who was banished for some crime worse than murder. He who was never heard of again. As Malouf weaves the tale of Ovid during banishment, so many connections from past to present can be made. The character Ovid even recognizes his past pervading his present in the Child. When Ovid was young, there was a wild child in his life. When Ovid became old, the Child returned.

Our human brain tends to make unconscious connections for us. As Ovid connected the Child to the child of his past, we make connections from our past to our present circumstances. The past possesses the present. We can make the connections from Sophocles’ Antigone and our own struggles with drama between men and women, age and youth, society and the individual, living and the dead, and between men and gods. From Homeric Hymns, we can connect past characters to the characters of our present. From Plato’s Symposium, we can connect their discussions to our own discussions of love and friendship. From Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, we can connect their humor to the humor of our day and age. And from Malouf’s An Imaginary Life, we can connect his imagination and storytelling to our own need to relate experiences or ideas to one another.

Malouf’s piece of literature is a reenactment of Ovid himself. Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a grouping of stories that portray the change of a being to another being--even if that change is only minimal; some of his tales depict man changing into beast while others depict man having a change in personality. Either way, a metamorphosis has taken place. Malouf depicts Ovid as one who believes in his banishment; he believes he is supposed to be completely cut off from his past and does nothing to change that fact. However, as the character Ovid starts to accept his change of lifestyle, he himself is transformed. The Child is also a way for Ovid to change. Instead of transforming those around him, Ovid changes to relate and fit into his surroundings.

Our class, Classical Foundations of Literature, is exactly what it says it is, except, we study the classical foundations of not only literature, but of our existences. Like Ovid’s tales and Malouf’s imagined life of Ovid‘s banishment, we transform ourselves through our experiences and the past experiences of others, and we learn and change to adapt to our world.


I just finished reading David Malouf's An Imaginary Life, and can I just say wow? Definitely thought provoking.

The language alone captured my attention and I could hardly put the book down. The Child was especially intriguing.

I think I'm putting this on my favorite books list.


Well, my tale from Ovid is Tereus. Since I had a bit of an extended spring break and was not in sweet, snowy Bozeman on the Friday before break or the Monday after, I don't really know what these one minute presentations are all about. However, here is a bit of a summary of Tereus.

I thought the entire story was a bit graphic and I enjoyed how descriptive it was. I definitely recommend reading it for yourselves. :D

The characters involved are:
King Pandion- King of Athens
King Tereus- King of Thrace
Procne- Daughter of Pandion and wife of Tereus
Philomela- Daugther of Pandion and sister of Procne
Itys- Son of Tereus and Procne

After seeing that King Tereus of Thrace was just as rich and powerful as he himself was, King Pandion of Athens gave his daughter to Tereus in marriage. The marriage began with bad omens including the deities who bless brides shunning the marriage and an owl interrupting their wedding night. Soon they had a son and named him Itys.
After five years, Procne went to her husband and told him she wished to see her sister and that he should bring her to Thrace. Tereus complied and personally sailed to Athens and King Pandion. Once Procne’s sister, Philomela, entered the room, Tereus became completely infatuated with her. Her beauty was amazing and Tereus had an uncontrollable body. "Thracians are sexually insatiable." He wanted her and started thinking of ways he could have her to himself. He implored and tricked Pandion to let Philomela come with him to see Procne. Pandion gave in and went to bless them and their trip back to Thrace when he felt a strong sense of foreboding.
Tereus and Philomela sailed back to Thrace and Tereus took her to a fort deep in the forest and imprisoned her. He did many unmentionable things to her and she tried to fight back. He became angry and went into a rage and cut out her tongue. Tereus went back to Procne and told her that Philomela was dead.
After a year, Philomela, unable to speak, wove a tapestry and gestured to a servant that it should be delivered to Procne. Procne received the tapestry and saw what her sister had depicted. Using a disguise, Procne rescued Philomela and brought her back the palace. Procne was so angry at her husband and was thinking of ways of revenge when her son, Itys, came in. He was the spitting image of his father and so loving of his mother that it softened Procne’s heart for a moment, but she looked back towards Philomela and knew she had to do what she had to. She grabbed Itys and killed him. The sisters then proceeded to cook his remains and prepared a feast out of him. Philomela leaves the room and Procne proceeds to lie to Tereus saying that she wants to serve him because it was a special day. Tereus ate and called for his son over and over, but Itys did not come. Philomela then comes back into the room with Itys’ head and Tereus understands that he has been eating his own son. The sisters take off running to the forest and Tereus goes after them in a blind rage. As they’re running, they sprout wings and begin to fly and transform into birds. Tereus becomes a hoopoe, Philomela becomes a nightingale, and Procne becomes a swallow.

The Hoopoe.

The Nightingale.

The Swallow.


In relation to Lysistrata and its flyting passages, I had the best first-hand experience of flyting in my life the other night.

It happened to involve an ex boyfriend of mine. We don’t get along very well anymore partly because we know each other so well and use that against the other person.

The argument went a little like this:
(And please note that most of the conversation is in raised voices and there is quite a bit of physical abuse.)

Matt “This happens every time you’re around!”
Me “What happens?”
Matt “You screw up my life!!”
Me “Please! Tell me how I screw up your life!”
Matt “You just do!”
Me “Oh, that’s not ambiguous or anything, you asshole!”
Matt “Things just get messed up when you’re around.”
Me “Explain to me why that is.”
Matt “You’re a bitch!”
Me “Excuse me?!”
(Interlude for a bunch of slapping, scratching, and pushing.) (Mostly me.)
Matt “Here, I’ll spell it out for you. B I T C H. Bitch!”
Me “You are such a fucking asshole!!”

This ends with me leaving and slamming doors.
We do have pleasant conversations once in a while, though.

The conversation was part of a semi-serious conversation we were having, but then it turned into the above...



Woah. So spaced on the music blog.

We were asked to blog about the best musical performance we've ever seen or about one we'd love to go to. Since my background consists of tons of random country concerts before I was ten, and an N*Sync concert when I was eleven (yes, I'll admit to it), I think I'll say a little something about the performance I would like to see.

Out of my (current) top five bands ('Cause they change a lot):
Linkin Park
Three Days Grace
A Perfect Circle

I would have to say I would love to attend a Linkin Park concert that features their Minutes to Midnight album. Although, all of their albums are great.

Just to be in the crowd while they're on stage performing the songs they've created and nurtured to become what they are would be amazing. Their lyrics are always rythmic and inspirational to me.

To be able to hear Chester Bennington belt out Leave Out All the Rest with the accompanying music would probably give me chills.

I believe music should connect to you on a higher level and Linkin Park's music does that for me. I have a little something I like to call MADD, Music Attention Deficit Disorder, where I skip every single song within the first 45 seconds of play. Linkin Park is the only band whose music I could listen to endlessly. I've popped in one of their albums and I am able to play it repeatedly for hours without skipping one single song. My friends make fun of me for it. =P

They also act as a sort of muse for me. I do some of my best writing and drawing while listening to them.



So I have quite a few half started blogs that I probably should finish and post... They've been sitting in my drafts for a while now and most of them aren't very relevant anymore. :(

Oh well. I'm going to finish and post them anyway. :D
On to the first belated blog...

What is love?

I find the entire topic of love quite interesting because the definition of love is so ambiguous. Not only does every individual have their own opinion of what it is, there are also so many different types of love. Erotic love, parental love, child love, pet love, friend love, sibling love, a love for pastimes, a love of feelings, love for the past, etc… And each form of love is different for each person. One person may feel a strong connection with their mom or dad, and another may not get along with either their mom or dad, but both people can still love their parents.

Like Plato’s Symposium, each individual has their own opinion of what love is. The entire world could sit down together after dinner and discuss what they think love is and we’d get a very large variety of answers (although, that would take a very long time to sit around, get drunk, and listen to 7 billion people). And like in Carson McCuller’s “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.”, the idea of love should start from the bottom and move up the ladder, so to speak. Eventually, the meaning of love and caring will sink in and you will graduate to the top of the ladder, but, until then, love is a slow process.

Don’t we all start out when we’re kids with a pet rock or some toy that we carry around everywhere with us? And then we eventually move on from that toy to another one? And on and on until we’re teenagers and in love with fictional characters or movie stars? And then eventually, we’re in high school and find ourselves drooling over the cute guy (or girl) in the front row?

Sometimes love can get confused with infatuation or obsession, but aren’t those in themselves types of love? They’re viewed in public society as unhealthy forms of love, but don’t they fall under the same category that “healthy” love does?

In Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, the guy in the jalopy, Arnold Friend, kind of obsesses over the main character, Connie, and tries to take her--Hades and Persephone style. Is it a form of love, though? Or is just a creepy stalking?

Another reference to what I think is a semi-unhealthy obsession in fiction is the--dun dun dun--Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer. Does anybody else think that Bella Swan’s infatuation with Edward Cullen is anything more than serious obsession? And what about Edward Cullen’s desire for Bella? If I didn’t love the books so much, I’d think it was ridiculous. But then again, isn’t obsession and desire a part of love? Meyer’s characters seem to make it work. (Though, the series isn't that thought provoking, either.) :)


Comedy Defies

I found Sarah Ruden’s translation of Lysistrata quite entertaining! I actually got to page 12 and had to put the book down to call a friend and giggle about all the bawdy humor going on.
A few of my favorite lines are:

“We’ve even lost those six-inch substitutes,
Those dinky dildos for emergencies.” (109-110)

“From now on, no more penises for you.” (124)

“ANYTHING else for me. I’d walk through fire,
But do without a dick? Be serious!
There’s nothing, Lysistrata, like a dick.” (133-135)

“Sit in our quarters, powdered daintily,
As good as nude in those imported slips,
And-just-slink by, with crotches nicely groomed,
The men will swell right up and want to boink,
But we won’t let them near us, we’ll refuse-
Trust me, they’ll make a treaty at a dash.” (149-154)

“For them, there’s just one place a dildo fits.” (158)

“…They’ll give up-you’ll see
How fast. No husband’s going to like to screw
Unless he knows his woman likes it too.” (164-166)

Now, who wouldn’t find that funny? Aristophanes might be my new hero.

The humor in Lysistrata can even be connected way back to the Homeric Hymns to Hermes. While not as sexual, Hermes did have the first fart joke and he was a devious little thing. He had fun in stealing Apollo’s cattle and we had fun reading it. Therefore…Comedy!

Something else kind of clicked in my head, too. Comedy defies what is “proper”. It’s funny because it goes against the norm and against some of the values we should be upholding. Fart jokes, pranks, sexual humor, etc. really isn’t appropriate in certain settings, but when they do make an appearance at, let’s say, a formal dinner party, would absolutely everyone be able to stifle their laughter? Sometimes, we like to think that we can be “grown up” and “mature” but, truth is, we’re all just as vulgar and comedic as the next guy.

I can only wish I was as funny as Dane Cook, though. =P
I definitely think some of his humor would not be appreciated by "proper" society in certain settings. Here's a few vids to check out.

Dane Cook "B & E"
The sound is a little off with the video, but it's still funny. And sadly, edited.

Dane Cook "One Night Stand"

Dane Cook "Public Restrooms"

Dane Cook "Burger King"
A fan made, animated video.


By Aubrey Beardsley
Lysistrata Haranguing the Athenian Women
By using the body and sex as a weapon, the women were able to overcome their husbands and take their power away from from them.
Men should really start thinking with their heads and hearts rather than their phallis. =P


Ah...The Symposium.

By Anselm Feuerbach in 1869


I particularly enjoyed Aristophanes speech in Plato’s Symposium. The idea that we were all once connected was sweet and it made sense as to why we would want to find the person we were connected to again. They’re our soul mates. Our other halves. They’re the ones that we connect with the most on the levels that count.

Aristophane speaks,
"After the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other half, came together, and threw their arms about one another eager to grow into one, and would have perished form hunger without ever making an effort, because they did not like to do anything apart; and when one of the halves died and the other survived, the survivor sought another mate, whether the section of an entire man or of an entire woman, which had usurped the name of man and woman, and clung to that." (16-17)

It's heart wrenching to imagine two beings so torn apart from each other trying to cling to one another in order to be one being. What they must feel. It seems painful to even think about needing to be one like that and not being able to achieve it.

In response to Aristophane's speech, I wondered how many of us have gone through life without finding our other halves? You hear about it all the time; the break-ups, separations, and divorce. Do all of these things happen because you were deceived by the itching in your shoulder blades? Do they happen because who you thought was your other half, really wasn’t? And in those cases, is there really someone else out there you should be searching for?

It’s kind of always been a fascination of mine. If soul mates are real, what happens when they have miles and miles of ocean and land between them? Do they go through this life miserable because they never meet their other half or does fate and circumstance eventually bring them together for a happy ending? Or do they maybe find each other in their next lives? I’m curious.


Erastes and Eromenos

So I researched the topic of the Erastes and the Eromenos a little bit and it’s quite an interesting topic. I saw it as a teacher/student relationship with a little sex on the side.

The erastes is the older, experienced guy who pursues the young man who would play the role of the eromenos. The erastes would provide an education and the eromenos would have to allow the sexual advances of the erastes. There's a lot of certain specifications to follow in order for the relationship to be considered good.

The education involves philosophy, music, athletics, and military and probably a few more things.

Pretty sweet setup. Haha.

Here’s a couple links to check out if you want more information.
I found the entire topic intriguing.



Links To All 3 Short Stories

I thought I would help make it easier on everyone and post all the links to the stories Dr. Sexson recommended we read.

I remembered this being listed on MSU's e-reserves when I took the required seminar class my first semester, and, lo and behold, it's still on there.

A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud. by Carson McCullers.

Enjoy! ♥


Study Guide-Quiz I

Here is the Study Guide for Quiz I on Friday, Feb. 20.

1. Define Hubris.
Pride, arrogance

2.What are the Eleusinian Mysteries?
Initiation ceremonies

A. What was done?
A reenactment of the abduction of Persephone.

B. What was said?
“Rain conceives.”

C. What was shown?
A grain of wheat or an ear of corn.

3. Name the 5 Steiner Conflicts of Antigone in order.
Men & Women
Age & Youth
Society & Individual
Living & Dead
Men & Gods

4. What is an epithet?
A nickname or handle.

Give an example.
“Trim ankles” for Persephone or “Argus-killer” for Hermes.

5. Which 2 characters exemplify most of the 5 Steiner conflicts?
Creon and Antigone

6. What is stichomythia?
A rapid succession of one liners. Think of two rappers in a rap competition.

7. What is sparagmos?
The tearing or shredding of living flesh.

8. Define anthropocentric in context of Greek tragedy:
Human centered; humans are gifts of Gods. Reveres the resistance to the Gods.

9. Define miasma:
Pollution; implied curse over a land because of improper treatment of the dead.

10. From the introduction of Sophocles’ Antigone:
A. Be able to define Antigone's view of politics.
B. The notion of a moving target.
C. The meaning of Creon's name.

11. What is the Myth of the Eternal Return?
Everything important will happen again.

12. According to the popular TV show Family Guy, which character is most like Hermes?

13. Thoreau said, “Read not the ____. Read the _____.”
Times; Eternities

14. Who took one “who dwells above and tossed her below”?
Creon and Zeus

15. What is In Illo Tempore?
In the great time.

16. Which 2 (or 3) mythological figures are polytropic?
Hermes, Odysseus, (and Alcibiades)

17. Who are the 3 great tragedians?
Euripides, Sophocles, and Aeschylus

18. Who is the God of crossroads?

19. What does agon mean?
Adversative; conflict; agony

20. All that is ____ possesses the ____.
Past; Present

21. What are 2 of the best things that can happen to us according to the Chorus of Antigone?
The first best thing is to never be born, the second best thing is to die.

22. Sarvam ____&____.
“All is suffering, all is fleeting.”

23. What does Antigone’s name mean?

24. What injury does Oedipus suffer when he was an infant?
His ankles are bolted.

25. Which 2 words did Hermes demonstrate his innocence with?
“I was born yesterday.”

26. What did Robert Johnson do at the crossroads?
Sold his soul to the devil so he could play guitar.

27. Why do we laugh according to Sigmund Freud?
In order not to cry.

28. What does it mean to make something anagogic?
To place it above the earthly and into the spiritual/heavenly realm.

29. What is senex?
An old man. (An old impotent man; senator)

And don't forget to go over your notes, read the introduction of Antigone and Homeric Hymns, and read the Steiner text. Good Luck!!



So I think the chorus of Antigone is wrong when they say the second best thing is to die and the first best thing is to have never been born.

Sure, the world is full of suffering, but it's also full of life and new discoveries. I say the best thing is to live life and make it through the suffering. Everything in this world is beautiful in one way or another and it would be a horrible thing to never experience any of it. Our world is so full of things it would take a thousand lifetimes to see it all. Nature is ever growing and expanding as well as our human society. We're always coming up with new inventions and ideas. The natural world around us changes and becomes beautiful with every new stage it develops in to.

To not see any of these changes and experience them first-hand would be the worst thing. Life is filled with suffering so that we can understand the beauty all around us. If everything was just fine and dandy all the time, we wouldn't know it. Those wonderful things we experience every day wouldn't be wonderful if we had not known something worse.

Therefore, the second best thing is to live and the first best thing is to suffer.



...And Bingo Was His Name-o

Actually, it wasn't Bingo, his name was Lucky.

The NAVY stationed my father in San Diego, California when I was about 5 years old and he had taken up a night patrol position for a second job. One very late night--or early morning--my mother came in to wake me up.

"Come downstairs, there's a suprise waiting for you," she told me.

I rolled out of bed and precariously made my way down the stairs to see my dad standing there with a smile on his face. I didn't really understand why he was home until he directed my attention to the dirty, hairy beast sitting next to him.

My dad told me the story of how was out on his rounds near the interstate and happened to see this mangy mutt trying to cross the road. The dog seemed to be attracted to the oncoming traffic and was almost hit several times. He didn't have a collar on and looked pretty unkept, so my father decided to load him up in the backseat of his patrol car and bring him home for the night.

I suppose if you got passed all the disgustingly dirty, matted fur, the dog was kind of cute. Once the sun had risen and all the other, normal people had woken up and gone to work, my dad came home and we made a few phone calls to the animal shelters and pounds to see if any of them had heard about this missing dog. Nobody claimed him, though.

We took Lucky, the name I gave to the lucky son-of-a-gun, to get his shots and some nice salon treatment. After a good bath and a hair cut, he didn't look like the same mutt as before; he actually looked like a dog, even though to this day I don't know exactly what breed he was. He had white hair and very emotional eyes and a cute, mischevious grin. :D He was a real sweety.

We kept Lucky for the remaining year we lived in San Diego and our move to Bremerton, Washington. We'd gotten lucky and found an out of the way place with a huge yard for him to play in. I was given a couple of kittens (Squeaker and Sweetpea) for my 8th Birthday and he just loved them. He even made friends with the never-on-a-leash female dog named Missy. *wink wink* She belonged to a boy around my age that lived across the street. I'd made a few friends as well, but something happened to Lucky. His behavior started changing; he got more and more defensive of our house and his area, and he was getting a lot more aggressive. The real indicator was when I had a friend coming over to visit. She rode down the street from her house on her bike and had gotten into our driveway when Lucky tore down our front steps and attacked her. He bit down to the bone.

We figured maybe it was just a one time deal, and if we disciplined him enough about being so defensive, he wouldn't attack anyone anymore. We thought he'd gotten better, until the little boy from across the street came to look for his dog. Missy was up on our porch being cozy with Lucky in his dog bed. Lucky didn't like the intrusion and attacked the boy. The boy had to be taken to the emergency room, but luckily the damage wasn't bad. The parents of the boy did demand that something be done about Lucky, though.

They couldn't actually press charges for the attack because it was on our property and he had been on a leash, they demanded that our dog be put down. We were already puzzled about Lucky's behavior and weren't sure what more we could do to control him, so we took him to the vet. We were told that he might have developed behavioral problems from his past and that there was really no telling what he could be capable of next. My parents made the heartbreaking decision to put Lucky to sleep.

It was a very sad time for me, because he had been my first pet and I loved him dearly. I had never had a problem with him being aggressive towards me and because I was so young, I didn't really understand what the problem was. He was my sweet Lucky.

I haven't had a dog since, and after we put Lucky down, Sweetpea ran away. :(

That was actually my first experience of death. Before that, I knew of the concept of death, but I never actually understood the true feeling of loss. Even though it was only a dog, and not a parent, aunt/uncle, or a sibling like Antigone lost, it was still heart wrenching.

Antigone lost both of her brothers and the emotional anguish she must have felt was directing her actions. The insult of her brother, Polyneices, insulted her and her grieving. Of course she would want to break all the rules to break Creon's law and bury her brother. She couldn't let him (his body, anyway) suffer, no matter what he may be accused of. She was ready for the consequences of her actions and didn't back down or betray her true sense of morality.

Besides, we wouldn't have the great, tragic story of Antigone if she had followed the rules.

"You are remembered for the rules you break."
-General Douglas MacArthur


Imagining the sacred?

So this is sadly my first blog for this class. I’ve been strangely unmotivated to collect my thoughts in an organized manner. After listening to Dr. Sexson each class, my head is buzzing with new insight and ideas, but I just don’t know what to do with it all. There are so many things I’d love to talk about, but that would make this entry a bazillion miles long; something I’m sure none of you would have the time or patience to read.

A lot of quotes are thrown around in each class and the other day, one really stood out to me. I’m not sure of the exact wording, but it went a little like “things are not sacred in themselves; imagination is what makes them sacred.” Now, how true is that?

I grew up in a Catholic family and I know there are a lot of rituals and items that are considered sacred or holy. Each thing has to be handled in a certain ceremonial way or it could be deemed sacrilegious (blasphemy or the violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object). I’m not saying that we shouldn’t treat relics with care or that we should desecrate all the sacred items we can find, but I’m curious as to what would really happen if we deviated from the rituals. What kind of bad things would ensue? Is it really that big of a deal?

Go ahead, commit a sacrilege against what you believe in.

But really, if you think about it, sacred things and ritual are what keeps chaos out of our world. We need order and a belief system to keep us in line, no matter what those beliefs may be. We need to believe in something so that we have something to look forward to. Our dreams and goals are all linked together with what we believe can and will happen. If we have nothing to believe in and no hope for our future then why are we here? Why are we alive?

We hold objects as sacred or special because they have meaning. There is a memory behind each revered object that makes it special. In certain religions there are relics and crosses and other items that are considered sacred because they have meaning; there is a story behind each thing. In Christianity, a cross can be symbolic of the crucifixion of Christ just like a necklace can symbolize a past excursion that made a real impression on you.

I had the opportunity to go on a trip to France and Spain the summer after my junior year in high school and I bought a necklace at a random boutique. It was just a small store in one of the many towns we stopped in and while the necklace itself is pretty, there isn’t anything special about it. It’s just a sparkly flower with some gemstones hanging off it like teardrops. I don’t wear it much, if at all because I look at it and think, “Now really, what can I wear that won’t make this look terribly gaudy?” but it’s special to me because it reminds me of all the fun I had on that trip with two of my best friends. In its own way, the necklace is sacred to me– – I don’t worship it, but it’s symbolic of my belief that I will be able to go back to Europe someday.

And I did get another chance to go to Europe last summer (2008) to France and Italy, I just hope to keep traveling. It really is amazing to see other countries and learn about different cultures. :)