CLASSICS 222
GREEK TRAGEDY
FIRST ESSAY (5%)
Due in class, 29 September 1998
Write on one of the following topics.  Be as specific and as concise as you can.  Be sure to refer to the guidelines in the course syllabus when composing and preparing your essay.

The bibliography for each topic is optional, but strongly recommended if you want some sort of critical bearing.  Remember, this is not a research paper, but an opportunity for you to interpret the text.  Of course, if you do use outside scholarship, either through direct quotation or by building from an essential idea, you must reference your source appropriately.  References in the Scribner Library are marked with ;  see me for the rest.

References to a play are most easily handled in the body of your essay.

            EXAMPLE:  Despite Theseus' accusations, Hippolytus denies everything (943-6).


A)  In both the Medea and Hippolytus, oaths and pledges enable or restrict (or both) certain actions.  For each play, focus in on an oath/pledge scene, and discuss the following: Once you have described each oath scene and its consequences, offer some comparison and contrast between the two in terms of language, style, tone, and staging (so far as you can determine).  Are the scenes fundamentally similar or different?  Why?

Conclude your essay with a few remarks on the overall importance of oaths and pledges in Greek society, and the extent to which it is illustrated in both plays.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
 
Avery, H.  (1968)  "My Tongue Swore, but My Mind Is Unsworn."  TAPA 99:19-35. 
Boedeker, D.  (1991)  "Euripides' Medea and the Vanity of Logoi."  CP 86:95-112. 
Flory, S.  (1978)  "Medea's Right Hand:  Promises and Revenge."  TAPA 108:69-74. 
Halleran, M.  (1995)  Euripides:  Hippolytus.  Warminster. 
Knox, B.M.W.  (1979)  Word and Action, 205-230 (ch. 17, on the Hippolytus).  Baltimore.  (Reserve)
Rickert, G.  (1987)  "Akrasia and Euripides' Medea."  TAPA 91:91-117. 


B)  In both the Hippolytus and the Bacchae, certain characters run afoul of the gods.  Survey both plays, discussing the following: Furthermore, discuss how the gods display their favor or disfavor.  Are their displays appropriate or inappropriate—that is, do they seem just or unjust to you?  What Greek cultural concepts seem to lie behind divine beneficence or malevolence in these plays?

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
 
Burnett, A.P.  (1970)  "Pentheus and Dionysus:  Host and Guest."  CP 75:15-29.
Castellani, V.  (1976)  "That Troubled House of Pentheus in Euripides' Bacchae."  TAPA 106:  61-83.
Halleran, M.  (1995)  Euripides:  Hippolytus.  Warminster.
 
 
Zeitlin, F.  (1985)  "The Power of Aphrodite:  Eros and the Boundaries of the Self in the Hippolytus,"  in New Directions in Euripidean Criticism (ed. Burian), 53-111, 189-208.  (Reserve)


C)  In the Medea, Hippolytus, and Bacchae, we have noted characters who, during the course of each play, transgress certain boundaries—whether physical, social, sexual, and so on.  Choose a character from one of these tragedies, and discuss the following: Conclude your essay by relating the concept of transgression to tragedy itself.  In other words, why is tragedy an appropriate vehicle for boundary crossing?

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
 
Craik, E.  (1993)  "AIDOS:  Hippolytos 373-430:  Review and Interpretation."  JHS 113:45-59.
Foley, H.  (1989)  "Medea's Divided Self."  CA 61-85.
Knox, B.M.W.  (1979)  Word and Action, 295-324 (ch. 21, on  the Medea).  Baltimore.  (Reserve)
 
 
Segal, C.  (1978)  "Pentheus and Hippolytus on the Couch and on the Grid:  Psychoanalytic and Structuralist Readings of Greek Tragedy."  CW 72:129-48.