CLASSICS 222
GREEK TRAGEDY
TTh 2:10-3:30 p.m.    •    281 Bolton Hall 
 
Instructor
Overview
Objectives
Texts
Requirements
Timetable
 
Instructor: Professor Dan Curley
     Office:  Harder Hall 208b
     Hours:  MWF 11:10 a.m. - 12:05 p.m., and by appointment
     Phone:  (580-)5463
     Email:   dcurley@scott.skidmore.edu

Overview.  The tragedians of Athens in the fifth century BCE composed plays whose beauty, elegance, and power have stood the test of time.  In this course we shall survey the works of the three great playwrights, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. We shall approach the plays from different perspectives and contexts—mythical, historical, cultural, theatrical, and so on—in order to understand better how they function, not only as plays, but also as artifacts of individual artists and their societies.  In addition, we shall augment our survey with the testimonies of a comedian, Aristophanes, and a philosopher, Aristotle, who together are the greatest critics of tragedy from antiquity.

Objectives.  The specific goals for this course are as follows:     Furthermore, students will obtain and exercise the following skills:
Texts.  All are required.
    Arrowsmith, W. (1969)  Aristophanes:  Four Comedies.
    Grene, D. and Lattimore, R. (edd.)  The Complete Greek Tragedies.  Chicago.
        Aeschylus II:  Four Tragedies  (= A2)
        Sophocles I:  Three Tragedies  (= S1)
        Sophocles II:  Four Tragedies  (= S2)
        Euripides I:  Four Tragedies    (= E1)
        Euripides II:  Four Tragedies   (= E2)
        Euripides III:  Four Tragedies  (= E3)
        Euripides V:  Three Tragedies  (= E5)
     Halliwell, S. (1987)  The Poetics of Aristotle:  Translation and Commentary.  North Carolina.
     Lloyd-Jones, Hugh. (1979)  Aeschylus:  the Oresteia.  California.

Requirements, Grading, Expectations, and Policies.
 
Essays
Exams
Assignments
Semester Project 
Participation
 Timetable
 
Four essays:  20% (5% each) Midterm examination (27 October):  15%
Final examination (17 December):  15%
There are two examinations, a midterm and a final.  The final is essentially a second midterm, although it will have some cumulative aspects.  More information on each test as its date approaches.
Short assignments:  10%
A short assignment—such as a problem to solve, a topic to consider, additional reading, and the like—will be given each class.  Some must be handed in (in which case they must be prepared like the essays, above);  others are designed to facilitate discussion.  Whatever the case, all assignments are due the following class meeting.
Semester project:  20%
The major project for this term is to conceive, compose, and perform an original Greek tragedy—in English, of course.  Early in the semester you will be placed in a small group of 3-5 other students, with whom you will collaborate on a single play.  The work shall be divided among your group as evenly as possible, and several checks are in place to ensure that this will be the case.  The date of the performance has to be finalized, but it is tentatively scheduled for an evening within the last week of classes (8-11 December).

Project Guidelines.

Class participation:  20%
Class participation involves more than just attendance.  You must also keep up with the readings and assignments, and participate actively in class discussion.  Furthermore, I expect that you will come to class on time and that you will maintain an environment that promotes the exchange of ideas.  From time to time, I shall ask individual students to prepare a short presentation for the next class;  such presentations will count toward the class participation grade.

My attendance/late work policy is as follows.  Attendance is taken each class.  You are allowed two "free" unexcused absences from class over the course of the semester.  Further unexcused absences will lower your class participation grade at the rate of one grade per absence.  Two late arrivals to class will count as one absence.  Unexcused absences from an exam or presentation will incur the grade of F, as will unexcused late papers, assignments, or projects.  To excuse absences or late work you must furnish documentation from a credible authority—doctor, clergy member, professor, dean, and so on—who can testify to the nature of your emergency.  I shall also appreciate advance notification whenever possible.

If you have any questions or comments regarding these requirements and policies, please let me know.

Timetable.  N.B.:  You must do all readings before the classes for which they are assigned.
 
SEPT
OCT
NOV
DEC
 
DATE
READING/TOPIC
DUE IN CLASS
September  10 
 Introduction
15 
 Euripides, Medea (E1)
17 
 Euripides, Hippolytus (E1)
22 
 Euripides, Bacchae (E5)
24 
 Sophocles, Oedipus the King (S1)
29 
 Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus (S1)  First essay
October   1 
 Aeschylus, Seven against Thebes (A2)  Phase I (group/individual)
 Sophocles, Antigone (S1)
 8 
 Euripides, Phoenician Women (E5)
13 
 Euripides, Alcestis (E1)  Phase II (group/individual)
15 
 Euripides, Heracles (E2)  Second essay
20 
 Sophocles, Women of Trachis (S2)
22 
 Review
27 
 Midterm Examination
29 
 Sophocles, Philoctetes (S2)
November   3 
 Sophocles, Ajax (S2)  Phase III (group/individual)
 5 
 Euripides, Hecuba (E3)  
10 
 Euripides, Helen (E2) Third essay
12 
 Aeschylus, Agamemnon (Lloyd-Jones)
17 
 Aeschylus, Libation Bearers (Lloyd-Jones)
19 
 Aeschylus, Eumenides (Lloyd-Jones)
24 
 Aeschylus, Persians (A2)  Phase IV (group/individual)
26 
 Thanksgiving Break (no classes)
December   1 
 Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound (A2)
 Fragments (Handout)  Fourth essay 
 Aristophanes, Frogs (Arrowsmith)  Phase V (group/individual)
10 
 Aristotle, Poetics   (Halliwell);  Review  Phase VI this week (?) 
17 
 Final Examination, 1:30 p.m.