Virgil's Aeneid, books 4-6
"Dido's Lament," from the libretto by Nahum Tate from the opera Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell
Thy hand, Belinda, darkness shades me,
On thy bosom let me rest,
More I would, but Death invades me;
Death is now a welcome guest.
When I am laid, am laid in earth, May my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Here's a link to a video where you can listen and watch the sheet music at the same time.
Here's a link to a video where you can watch actors on the stage.
Here's a link to Jeff Buckley singing it at the Meltdown Festival in 1995 in London.
Imagine you are planning an operatic illustration of Book IV of the Aeneid, like Henry Purcell's opera. Sketch out six songs you would include. You don't have to actually write the songs, but say what the song would be (use vocabulary below), who would sing it, what the title would be, and what the song would be about. Make sure if you choose this one you wait to look at the actual libretto until after you've put your own spin on it. Your titles and suggestions can be comical. Here are the types of songs in an opera:
Aria: One singer, expressing thoughts and feelings, like a soliloquy in a play.
Duet: A song for two voices -- could be lovers, could express conflict/argument, or union.
Ensemble: Multiple members of the cast singing, possibly expressing different emotions.
Recitative: Not a formal song, more like singing-talking where the plot moves forward between the songs.
Finale: The last big number of an act or of the whole opera.
Using whatever visual medium you choose, illustrate this awesome weird priestess from Dido's mad ramblings:
Near the ends of the Ocean and where the sun sets
Ethiopia lies, the furthest of lands, where Atlas,
mightiest of all, turns the sky set with shining stars:
I’ve been told of a priestess, of Massylian race, there,
a keeper of the temple of the Hesperides, who gave
the dragon its food, and guarded the holy branches of the tree,
scattering the honeydew and sleep-inducing poppies.
With her incantations she promises to set free
what hearts she wishes, but bring cruel pain to others:
to stop the rivers flowing, and turn back the stars:
she wakes nocturnal Spirits: you’ll see earth yawn
under your feet, and the ash trees march from the hills.
Take a look at the libretto (script) for Dido and Aeneas. Choose one act of the three to rewrite in modern language. You'll need the characters, and about the same number of lines for each character, but you can have them say whatever you want.
In class we developed some ideas about which heroic archetype would best represent the American ideal for a a national epic. You divided into teams and chose archetypes to prepare for a debate. Your writing assignment this week is to write your opening statement or your closing statement, depending on which role you have decided to take on the team. Remember to employ at least one rhetorical strategy and be convincing! Rhetorical strategies we reviewed in class: analogy, narrative, historical or literary example, appeal to pride, imagery, logic, facts, statistics. Do NOT post your statement to Google+ -- instead turn it in to me in class on Thursday after the debate. Your essay will serve as your team's opening or closing statement for this short debate, so it should be around 300 words.
It's time for our next paper! We're going to write the argument paper next, instead of the rhetorical analysis -- this is a switch from the plan but I think it works with what we are discussing now. Your prompt for the argument paper is as follows:
Comic book superheroes are a specifically American idea. One could argue that they stand in for mythological characters like Greek or Norse gods. Sometimes figures from mythology show up on comic book pages! But which comic book character best represents the American idea, and would make the best epic hero for America? Would it be Captain America? Superman? Spiderman? Wonder Woman? Would it be someone with alien origins like Clark Kent or an "Everyman" like Peter Parker? Your assignment for Tuesday is to decide which superhero you will choose and what archetype they represent. This is mostly a thinking assignment, but to insure that you're not doing your thinking in the back seat of the van on the way to class, please type and print this assignment for credit.
AP Language and Composition:
Please read, in your World of Ideas anthology, the essay by Ruth Benedict, "The Pueblos of New Mexico." She applies Nietzche's concepts of Apollonian and Dionysian to North American native tribes.
OPTIONAL: In class on Tuesday we discussed a plan for the synthesis essay about cyberbullying and the responsibility of schools to discipline their students for stuff that happens off campus. If I were you and I were prepping for the exam, I would write that essay and I would ask the teacher to read it. And if I were the teacher, I would read it and give feedback.
1. How does Dido's sister Anna feel about her getting together with Aeneas?
2. What is Aeneas busy doing when Mercury finds him with Jupiter's message?
3. What curse does Dido bring down on Aeneas before she kills herself?
4. What animal crawls up out of Anchises' tomb and eats Aeneas' sacrifice?
5. Why do you think Virgil just had to add some athletic competitions in his epic?
6. Who burns up the Trojan ships while the athletes are competing?
7. Neptune promises safe passage to Aeneas, but says that he will lose one guy. Who is that one guy?
8. Give one of the Sibyl's prophecies.
9. Why can some people NOT cross the river Styx?
10. What is Dido's reaction to Aeneas when they are reunited in the underworld?
BONUS: Summarize Anchises' awesome philosophical musings in one sentence.