Summary of Essays
Summaries of Essays
Kassandra & Women's Place
Classical Critical Model
Homer's Helen of Troy
Shakespeare's "Good" Women
Dionysus the Theatre God
Women in Ancient Times
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Essay topic: Euripides Bacchae and the Nomos versus Physis Antithesis
This was a research essay I completed in 1996 for a unit in Classical Studies. Broadly, the essay examines the drama in Euripides' play in relation to the philosophical antithesis known as nomos versus physis. The modern counterpart of this ancient antithesis is nature versus culture, although the ancient version was different in many respects. I argue that rather than falling on one side of this debate, Euripides has presented a drama that suggests that "a successful civilisation and a balanced individual must recognise the importance of both forces" (my introduction).
Essay topic: The Myth of Kassandra: Rape and Disbelief or Women's Place and Voice in Ancient Greece
This essay was written for a unit I took in 1995 called "Classical Mythology". I examine the mythical figure Kassandra and argue that through significant elements of her story she symbolises the plight of women in her society. I dwell particularly on her relationship with Apollo and the lesser Ajax as well as the curse she carried to prophesy truly but never to be believed.
Essay topic: An evaluation of the traditional critical model for the interpretation of tragedy through a reading of Euripides' Medea
This was the final essay I prepared for my undergraduate degree in 1997. In it I argue that the traditional critical model of interpretation of tragedy, which uses many well known concepts such as hamartia, hybris and dike, is an inadequate tool in coming to understand the meaning in the ancient works it purports to explicate. I utilise Euripides' Medea in order to illustrate its shortcomings.
Essay topic: Plato's other agenda in his Symposium: is Socrates Eros?
I completed a unit in Ancient Greek Philosophy in 1994 called "In Search of the Good Life". I prepared this essay on Plato's Symposium in which I argued that Plato did not write a work in praise of love or Eros, but actually a work directly in praise of Socrates in the guise of Eros.
Essay topic: The Helen of Homer's Iliad: is she powerful or weak?
The Helen of Homer's Iliad is the figure examined in this essay I prepared in 1993. There are two levels of investigation: Helen as an individual within the context of her immediate experiences, and Helen, the literary figure. In relation to the latter, I draw a parallel between Homer and Helen as powerful storytellers.
Essay topic: How stereotypically good are Shakespeare's good women?
In this 1995 essay I try to find readings of Desdemona, Cordelia and Ophelia that are less stereotypical than those found in most criticism. They are the victims of narrow readings based chiefly on their "goodness" and their effectiveness is often deemed to be confined to the symbolic realm. I try to rehabilitate them as complex and active characters whose functions within the narrative are greater than merely being vehicles for androcentric stories.
Essay topic: It has been argued that enterprise bargaining favours the industrially strong at the expense of the industrially weak. Examine this assertion in light of the models of "enterprise bargaining" implemented in the Federal jurisdication.
I didn't just do literature at university! This essay was completed for a unit in industrial relations that I completed through the Commerce Faculty. As I work in a trade union, my opinions regardng enterprise bargaining stretch beyond intellectual reflection. When I wrote this essay in 1994 I concluded that although there was the potential for the advancement of those traditionally considered to be industrially weak, it was more likely the the possibilities for a "free for all" would be activated. It is now six years later, I would say that my fears were realised. However, enterprise level negotiations seem to be here to stay and a centralised system of industrial relations that looks after the interests of all workers equally, despite variable working environments, seems to be fading away.
Essay topic: What aspects of the god Dionysus make him the appropriate god to be associated with the theatre?
One of three essays prepared as part of a 1997 "take home" exam, it is short and has no notes or works cited. However, it provides an extensive list of the aspects of the ancient Greek god Dionysus that make him ideal to represent the theatre.
Essay topic: Why does Dionysus choose to return from the Underworld with Aeschylus rather than Euripides in the Frogs? What are the implications of his decision?
Another of my "take home" exam essays from 1997 (short, no notes, no cited works), I examine the contest between Aeschylus and Euripides to determine what authorial attributes were deemed to be more acceptable to be returned to Athens from Hades. An important aspect of this examination is the characterisation by Aristophanes of the ancient Greek "audience" as unsophisticated and completely unable to decipher a subtle moral subtext (which is often found in Euripides' tragedies).
Essay topic: Ancient Greece is often considered to be a misogynistic society. Consider this proposition by analysing the role of any of the female characters in one or more of the plays we have read.
Another of my "take home" exam essays from 1997 (short, no notes, no cited works), I look at Euripides' characterisation of Medea. I conclude that despite the evidence suggesting that Euripides was particularly sympathetic to the ancient Greek female (ie. that he is not particularly misogynistic in the context of Classical Athens) we are not in a position to infer from his works that the society at large was not misogynistic. Indeed, Euripides describes aspects of the female plight in what seems to be a condemning voice, but further, other evidence rather than from the literary tradition is more likely to present an accurate picture of the plight of women at that time.
Created: January 2001
Last modified: August 28, 2003
Author: Brigid Marasco, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © Brigid Marasco 2001, 2002, 2003. All rights reserved.