Friday, March 16, 2018

Reading Period 20: March 16-22: The Aeneid

Long Read: 

Virgil's Aeneid, books 4-6

Short Read:

"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.

Creative Assignments:

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.

Writing Assignments:

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.

Paper Assignments:

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.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Reading Period 19: March 9-15: The Aeneid

Long Read: 

Virgil's Aeneid, translated by Robert Fagles, Books 1-3

Short Read:

John Dryden's 1697 translation of the Aeneid, lines 1-11:

Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc'd by fate,
And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate,
Expell'd and exil'd, left the Trojan shore.
Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore,
And in the doubtful war, before he won
The Latian realm, and built the destin'd town;
His banish'd gods restor'd to rites divine,
And settled sure succession in his line,
From whence the race of Alban fathers come,
And the long glories of majestic Rome.
O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate;
What goddess was provok'd, and whence her hate;

Robert Fagles translation of the Aeneid, lines 1-11:

Wars and a man I sing—an exile driven on by Fate,
he was the first to flee the coast of Troy,
destined to reach Lavinian shores and Italian soil,
yet many blows he took on land and sea from the gods above—
thanks to cruel Juno’s relentless rage—and many losses
he bore in battle too, before he could found a city,
bring his gods to Latium, source of the Latin race,
the Alban lords and the high walls of Rome.
Tell me,
Muse, how it all began. Why was Juno outraged?
What could wound the Queen of the Gods with all her power?
Why did she force a man, so famous for his devotion,
to brave such rounds of hardship, bear such trials?
Can such rage inflame the immortals’ hearts?

Horace's Ode #3 from Book 1: To Virgil, Setting Off to Greece

May the goddess, queen of Cyprus,
and Helen’s brothers, the brightest of stars,
and father of the winds, Aeolus,
confining all except Iapyga, guide you,
ship, that owes us Virgil, given
to your care, guide you to Attica’s shores,
bring him safely there I beg you,
and there watch over half of my spirit.
Triple bronze and oak encircled
the breast of the man who first committed
his fragile bark to the cruel sea,
without fearing the fierce south-westerlies
fighting with the winds from the north,
the sad Hyades, or the raging south,
master of the Adriatic,
whether he stirs or he calms the ocean.
What form of death could he have feared,
who gazed, dry-eyed, on swimming monsters,
saw the waves of the sea boiling,
and Acroceraunia’s infamous cliffs?
Useless for a wise god to part
the lands, with a far-severing Ocean,
if impious ships, in spite of him,
travel the depths he wished inviolable.
Daring enough for anything,
the human race deals in forbidden sin.
That daring son of Iapetus
brought fire, by impious cunning, to men.
When fire was stolen from heaven
its home, wasting disease and a strange crowd
of fevers covered the whole earth,
and death’s powers, that had been slow before
and far away, quickened their step.
Daedalus tried the empty air on wings
that were never granted to men:
Hercules’ labours shattered Acheron.
Nothing’s too high for mortal men:
like fools, we aim at the heavens themselves,
sinful, we won’t let Jupiter
set aside his lightning bolts of anger.

Here's another translation, in rhyme:

Thus may Cyprus' heavenly queen,
Thus Helen's brethren, stars of brightest sheen,
Guide thee! May the sire of wind
Each truant gale, save only Zephyr, bind!
So do thou, fair ship, that ow'st
Virgil, thy precious freight, to Attic coast,
Safe restore thy loan and whole,
And save from death the partner of my soul!
Oak and brass of triple fold
Encompass'd sure that heart, which first made bold
To the raging sea to trust
A fragile bark, nor fear'd the Afric gust
With its Northern mates at strife,
Nor Hyads' frown, nor South-wind fury-rife,
Mightiest power that Hadria knows,
Wills he the waves to madden or compose.
What had Death in store to awe
Those eyes, that huge sea-beasts unmelting saw,
Saw the swelling of the surge,
And high Ceraunian cliffs, the seaman's scourge?
Heaven's high providence in vain
Has sever'd countries with the estranging main,
If our vessels ne'ertheless
With reckless plunge that sacred bar transgress.
Daring all, their goal to win,
Men tread forbidden ground, and rush on sin:
Daring all, Prometheus play'd
His wily game, and fire to man convey'd;
Soon as fire was stolen away,
Pale Fever's stranger host and wan Decay
Swept o'er earth's polluted face,
And slow Fate quicken'd Death's once halting pace.
Daedalus the void air tried
On wings, to humankind by Heaven denied;
Acheron's bar gave way with ease
Before the arm of labouring Hercules.
Nought is there for man too high;
Our impious folly e'en would climb the sky,
Braves the dweller on the steep,
Nor lets the bolts of heavenly vengeance sleep.

Here's the Latin, in case you're interested:

Sic te diva potens Cypri,
  Sic fratres Helenae, lucida sidera,
Ventorumque regat pater
  Obstrictis aliis praeter Iapyga,
Navis, quae tibi creditum
  Debes Vergilium finibus Atticis,
Reddas incolumem precor
  Et serves animae dimidium meae.
Illi robur et aes triplex
  Circa pectus erat, qui fragilem truci
Commisit pelago ratem
  Primus, nec timuit praecipitem Africum
Decertantem Aquilonibus
  Nec tristis Hyadas nec rabiem Noti,
Quo non arbiter Hadriae
  Maior, tollere seu ponere volt freta.
Quem mortis timuit gradum,
  Qui siccis oculis monstra natantia,
Qui vidit mare turbidum et
  Infamis scopulos, Acroceraunia?
Nequiquam deus abscidit
  Prudens Oceano dissociabili
Terras, si tamen impiae
  Non tangenda rates transiliunt vada.
Audax omnia perpeti
  Gens humana ruit per vetitum nefas.
Audax Iapeti genus
  Ignem fraude mala gentibus intulit.
Post ignem aetheria domo
  Subductum macies et nova febrium
Terris incubuit cohors,
  Semotique prius tarda necessitas
Leti corripuit gradum.
  Expertus vacuum Daedalus aera
Pennis non homini datis;
  Perrupit Acheronta Herculeus labor.
Nil mortalibus arduist;
  Caelum ipsum petimus stultitia, neque
Per nostrum patimur scelus
  Iracunda Iovem ponere fulmina.

Oh my gosh, you can LISTEN TO THE LATIN:

Creative Assignment:

Read Horace's ode, "To Virgil, Setting Off to Greece" at least twice. Write your own poem in the style of Horace's ode, with the same theme: humankind's bravery in conquering the obstacles nature has set for us. You could talk about climbers who have reached the top of mountains, or astronauts who went to the moon, or adventurers to the North Pole, or any other inspiring acts of bravery. It isn't necessary to exactly mimic Horace's rhythm. Take as your inspiration the line "Daring enough for anything, the human race deals in forbidden sin." (Or, if you like the rhyming version better, "Daring all, their goal to win, men tread forbidden ground, and rush on sin" works too.)


Compare the two versions of the opening lines of the Aeneid, and the two versions of the ode. Decide whether you think it is better to translate the Latin into English using rhymes and a static meter, or whether it is better to translate using more irregular meter and words that best fit the meaning. Write a 250 word essay claiming one or the other is better, and use specific lines from the two versions of either poems to back up your claim.


Please finish work on your monster project, collaborating with the Play & Learn students. Those will be due March 22, but can be turned in any time. Don't forget! The little kids are depending on you. :)

Writing Assignment:

Your revision of the synthesis paper is due in class on Thursday, March 15. In a folder, you will turn in the following:

Your first draft, with my comments on it.
Your partner's peer editing on your other copy of your first draft.
Your final draft.

In order to get credit for your final draft, you must show significant revision. All three elements must have your name on them. Please double space with one inch margins. Printing on both sides is ok.


1. Why is Juno (still) mad at the Trojans?
2. What goddess appears to Aeneas in disguise, and what is her relationship to him?
3. What horribly familiar story is depicted on the walls of Carthage?
4. How does Venus make sure that Aeneas will have a fine time in Carthage?
5. Who is the only guy to worry that there might be issues with the Greek's giant horse present, and what happens to him?
6. What happens to poor old Priam in the invasion?
7. Anchises doesn't want to leave Troy, but what convinces him to go?
8. Where does Anchises think they should found their new city? Is he right?
9. Who did Andromache marry after Hektor died?
10. What three familiar dangers do we find in Book III of the Aeneid, that we remember from Odysseus' adventures in the same territory?

Quiz II from The Frogs: (send to Nathan)

1. Identify the prologue, parados, agon, parabasis, and exodos of the second act.
2. Why isn't Sophocles in the contest?
3. To whom does Euripides pray?
4. Explain this line of the chorus: "But while one pins his hopes on his neatly turned wit, / The other relies upon weight." Who's who?
5. To what is Aeschylus repeatedly compared by the chorus and Dionysus? (hint: weather)
6. What does Euripides initially find fault with in Aeschylus' tragedies?
7. What does Aeschylus initially find fault with in Euripides' tragedies?
8. What does Euripides say is the duty of a poet?
9. How does Euripides critique the prologue from The Libation Bearers? What about Aeschylus' critique of Oedipus?
10. What is the point of the "little bottle of oil" bit?
11. Who wins the weighing and why?
12. What political matter does Dionysus ask the poets' opinions on?
13. Why is it ironic that Euripides is double-crossed by Dionysus?
14. Whom does the chorus attack in its parabasis?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Reading Period 18: February 23 - March 1: The Frogs

Long Read: 

The Frogs by Aristophanes, Act I


"The Satire of the Trades" by Dua Kheti, from Egypt's Middle Kingdom (2025-1700 BC)

Creative Assignment:

Choose a present-day public figure – a celebrity, politician, or literary individual. In a poem of at least twenty-five lines, chide this individual as the chorus of The Frogs chides Cleigenes at the end of act one. Write the poem with a rhyme scheme. You can gently reprimand or scathingly mock. Imagine that this poem is to be inserted in a modern play by Aristophanes; address the poem to an audience, not to the individual directly.


Design and illustrate what you imagine the frog costumes for the chorus would look like. Feel free to look at other productions and descriptions of comic costumes from the era for inspiration. You can use whatever medium you like, but it has to be chromatic (colored pencils, watercolors, acrylics, etc.).

Writing Assignment:

The first draft of your 500 word synthesis essay is due on Thursday, March 1. Please bring two copies -- one for peer editing and one for me. This is your only writing assignment for this week.

Special Assignments:

Photograph or scan your lecture notes from any day's lecture, and post to Google+.

Summarize "The Satire of Trades" in one pithy sentence and be ready to read it in class.


1. Who is Dionysus dressed up as?
2. Why has Dionysus come down into the Underworld?
3. In what way is Xanthias a parody of the New Comedy archetypes?
4. What is funny about Heracles’ initial suggestions on how Dionysus can get to the Underworld?
5. What are the four locations Heracles informs Dionysus he will encounter on his journey to Pluto’s palace?
6. To whom are the initiates singing their hymns and why is this fitting and ironic?
7. Whose voice does the chorus of initiates have in The Frogs?
8. Whom do you think the frogs represent?
9. What subgenres of Greek comedy did Aristophanes write?
10. What does the chorus leader tell the audience the chorus will do at the end of act one?
11. What does the chorus lament at the end of act one?
12. How many non-chorus actors did Sophocles use in his plays?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Reading Period 17: February 16-22: The Rhetoric of Opposition

Long Read:

"Apollonianism and Dionysianism" by Friedrich Nietzche, excerpted from The Birth of Tragedy, books 1-4.

If you are reading from the AP reader, this selection starts on p. 547. If you are looking at the link above, scroll down to the beginning of The Birth of Tragedy and read the first four sections, down to "Antigone and Cassandra."

This is not an easy read. In A World of Ideas, the introduction to this piece will be extremely helpful. Failing that, go ahead and read the Wikipedia article "Apollonian and Dionysian," particularly the section about German philosophy.

Creative Assignment:

Building on the "My Struggle" list you started in class, create a visual illustration, in the style of Molly Crabapple's illustration of Dali's list. You can use different font styles, small drawings, or colors, or whatever helps you bring your list to life.


For those who were not in class and did not do a "My Struggle" list, please explore the concepts of Apollonianism and Dionysianism by creating characters that illustrate these two worldviews. You can write about them or draw them. If you draw then, they can be anime, cartoons, realistic, animals, or whatever you like, but add details and show us how these philosophies would manifest themselves in a personality. If you write about them, write at least 300 words total.

Writing Assignment:

As we discussed in class, your assignment is to write a personal essay about your "My Struggle" list. You should reference at least a few of the pairs you described, but don't let your essay become just another list. You might talk about the process of making the list, if it was easy or difficult for you, if you see the world in these terms, or if you reject the idea altogether. Your lists in class were really interesting and I look forward to reading more.


If you are in the AP class, your assignment is to write the three essays in the practice exam that I emailed out. We have already read the prompts, outlined some ideas, and discussed strategies, but time yourself according to what you see on the test, and give yourself a chance to look back over the materials and carefully read the prompts again. You will be submitting two copies -- one for me to grade and one for peer editing. This time in peer editing we're focusing on the definitions of effective, adequate, and inadequate, so make sure you're convincing as well as clear.


If you missed class and you're not in AP, respond to the following prompt from the 2017 practice AP Lang exam, written by the College Board:

In a 2011 essay in The Atlantic, author and journalist Lori Gottlieb writes: "Nowadays, it’s not enough to be happy—if you can be even happier. The American Dream and the pursuit of happiness have morphed from a quest for general contentment to the idea that you must be happy at all times and in every way." Gottlieb then cites Barry Schwartz, a professor of social theory: “Happiness as a byproduct of living your life is a great thing . . . [b]ut happiness as a goal is a recipe for disaster.”
In a well-developed essay, take a position on the claim that pursuing happiness as a goal has detrimental effects. Support your argument with appropriate evidence from your experience, observations, or reading.


For ten points, after reading the Nietzsche, give me five examples of Apollonian people and five examples of Dionysian people. They can be fictional, historical, or currently alive, famous or local. You must give a brief explanation with each one.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Reading Period 16: February 9-15: Medea

Long Read:

Euripedes' Medea, the rest of the play.


Excerpt from "Medea in Athens," a long poem by Augusta Webster, 1879.

                                                     Man, man,
Wilt thou accuse my guilt? Whose is my guilt?
Mine or thine, Jason? Oh, soul of my crimes,
How shall I pardon thee for what I am?
   Never. And if, with the poor womanish heart
That for the loving's sake will still love on,
I could let such a past wane as a dream
And turn to thee at waking – turn to thee!
I, put aside like some slight purchased slave
Who pleased thee and then tired thee, turn to thee!
Yet never, not if thou and I could live
Thousands of years, and all thy years were pain
And all my years were to behold thy pain,
Never could I forgive thee for my boys;
Never could I look on this hand of mine
That slew them and not hate thee. Childless, thou,
What is thy childlessness to mine? Go, go,
Thou foolish angry ghost, what wrongs hast thou?
Would I could wrong thee more. Come thou sometimes
And see me happy.
                                Dost thou mock at me
With thy cold smiling? Aye, can I not love?
What then? am I not folded round with love,
With a life's whole of love? There doth no thought
Come near to Aegeus save what is of me:
Am I no happy wife? And I go proud,
And treasure him for noblest of the world:
Am I no happy wife?
                                Dost mock me still?
My children, is it? Are the dead so wise?
Why, who told thee my transport of despair
When from the Sun, who willed me not to die
Nor creep away, sudden and too late came
The winged swift car that could have saved them, mine,
From thee and from all foes? Tush, 'twas best so.
If they had lived, sometimes thou hadst had hope:
For thou wouldst still have said 'I have two sons'
And dreamed perchance they'd bring thee use at last
And build thy greatness higher: but, now, now,
Thou has died shamed and childess, none to keep
Thy name and memory fresh upon the earth,
None to make boast of thee, 'My father did it.'
     Yes, 'twas best so: my sons, we are avenged.
Thou, mock me not. What if I have ill dreams,
Seeing them loathe me, fly from me in dread,
When I would feed my hungry mouth with kisses?
What if I moan in tossing fever-thirsts,
Crying for them whom I shall have no more,
Here nor among the dead, who never more,
Here nor among the dead, will smile to me
With young lips prattling 'Mother, mother dear'?
What if I turn sick when the women pass
That lead their boys; and hate a child's young face?
What if —
                     Go, go; thou mind'st me of our sons;
And then I hate thee worse; go to thy grave
By which none weeps. I have forgotten thee.

Creative Assignments:

After reading the except above, and in the spirit of Valentine's Day, write a love poem from Medea to Jason. Then, in honor of Singles Appreciation Day, write another one that takes place after their divorce (but not necessarily after her flight into exile). Make it bitter or make it pleading; make it deadly in its sweetness or blunt in its outrage and indignation. The poems together must total at least 28 lines. This is not meant to be a satire or parody, but it would be appropriate to employ the wit that Medea often uses.


Consider our upcoming marathon read event. Using whatever artistic medium you choose, design a concept image for our flier and for a banner to be used in the Livestream. Your art will involve choosing which colors to use for the event in all design elements, what font to use, and a general "feel" for the visuals we display. If you would like to create a full flier, go ahead! If you're making it digitally, make sure you keep your layers so that it can possibly be edited as the group collaborates on a name and the wording.

Writing Assignments:

As we discussed in class, spectators at Medea were shocked by the feminist message. However, some took his villainous depiction of Medea (and other female characters) to be an attack on the female gender. In a organized essay of 300 words, illustrate the duality of Medea - how do we reconcile the amazingly ahead-of-its-time message of Medea's earlier monologues with the play's villainous depiction of the tragic heroine? Was Euripedes a protofeminist or was he putting these words in Medea's mouth only to set her up for a fall?


Write a press release for our upcoming marathon read event. Take a look at this article, How to Write a Press Release With Examples from CBS News, or recall the lessons of last year's guest speaker. The press release will need a tagline; information about the venue, time, and place; instructions on how to participate; a description of what will be happening; a message about the reason for and purpose of the event; and anything else you feel will attract media attention to our project. Remember that the purpose is to invite contact, and make sure to include information on us and how to get in contact with us. Write at least 300 words, being aware that it's better to write more material than needed and edit it down.


The quiz will take place orally in class on Tuesday, closed book. It will test your reading comprehension of the text of the play Medea, and also these videos:

Friday, February 2, 2018

Reading Period 15: February 2-8: Medea


Read the first half of Medea (lines 1-762, when Aegeus exits).

Creative Assignments: 

Sketch or paint a family picture of Jason, Medea, and their two sons before they were separated, in the style of a Victorian family portrait. A quick search of "Victorian family painting" will give you an idea of the style. Here's one of the most famous instances, depicting Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and the royal family in 1846. While your picture may seem cozy and wholesome from the outside, on the inside all is not well. Perhaps Jason is already beginning to regret his marriage to Medea. Try to signify this, whether through cleverly placed symbolism, facial expressions, or other artistic methods. As an (albeit not very subtle) example of this sort of subtext, study and read about the painting in this article. Now, imagine that it is five minutes before the events depicted in the above painting - a seemingly pure and familial gathering, soon to be irreparably wrecked forever.


During the course of the play, Medea never gets to meet Jason's new princess bride face-to-face. Write a monologue from the point of view of Medea in which she addresses the princess upon seeing her for the first time. Imagine that this is the first thing either has said to the other in the play. The monologue must have at least twenty lines, with ten syllables in each line. If you want to go hardcore, make it iambic pentameter.

Writing Assignment:

Throughout the first half of the play, Medea delivers lengthy monologues to the chorus (215-271), Jason (467-519), Creon (292-323), and Aegeus (707-718). In an essay of at least 500 words, analyze the different tones she adopts in each of these. In addition, identify her objective in each monologue and explain what is revealed about her character in each successive monologue. How are her speeches meant to affect those to whom they are directed? Do they succeed in doing so? How are they meant to affect us, the readers and audience? Do NOT merely summarize her speeches. Dig deep. Read them out loud to yourselves - it is a play after all. Go into your room, where nobody will judge you, and read them. Play with the lines. Imagine you yourself are Medea - what do you hope to accomplish by this? When you reference a specific line with a quote (and you should do so), use an in-text citation thus: (540-541).

AP Students:

IN ADDITION TO your writing assignment for this week, write a second essay in which you examine Jason’s monologue in lines 522-576. Then, using the techniques you have learned in class, analyze Jason’s rhetorical style and strategies, identifying as many as you can. Do not express an opinion on whether or not he is justified or right (because we all know he’s not). The essay must be at least 250 words. When you reference a specific line with a quote (and you should do so), use an in-text citation thus: (540-541).


1. Why is Medea upset?
2. Who are the first characters with speaking roles we see in Medea? How are they different from almost all the other characters we studied last semester in Oedipus the King and Antigone? (Hint: Consider their rank and social status, and how many lines they get)
3. Medea rants about three cultural issues affecting women, specifically married women. What are these issues?
4. What trait does Medea possess that, due to the inequalities and injustices of her culture, brand her a troublemaker?
5. On which three people does Medea swear vengeance?
6. In line 160, to which two goddesses does Medea pray? Why does she pray to them specifically?
7. Why does Creon, King of Corinth, want to exile Medea?
8. Why has Jason come to speak to Medea?
9. What four favors does Medea list that she has performed for Jason?
10. Medea was, of course, written by Euripides. Therefore, how many (non-chorus) actors could we have expected to see when it was first performed?
11. What connection does the chorus have with Medea that makes them sympathize with her?
12. What does Medea offer Aegeus?
Send your quiz directly to Nathan for grading.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Reading Period 14: December 15-21: The Odyssey

Long Read: 

The Odyssey by Homer, books 20-24


"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

         This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

         There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Creative Assignment:

In the end, Odysseus slaughters all the suitors and is reunited with his father. But what happens then? Read the poem "Ulysses" and consider Tennyson's interpretation of how unsatisfying Odysseus might have found old age. Choose an image from the poem to illustrate in color, and use your piece of art to show the longing and restlessness that Odysseus feels (in Tennyson's interpretation) after the adventure is over.


Write a poem using one of the whimsical chapter titles from Robert Fitzgerald's translation of The Odyssey. For example, "The Grace of the Witch" "Blows and a Queen's Beauty" "Recognitions and a Dream" "The Trunk of the Olive Tree" "Gardens and Firelight" "Warriors Farewell" etc. Your poem doesn't have to do anything with the story of the Odyssey -- just be inspired by one of the titles.

Writing Assignment: 

We discussed in class how the Iliad and the Odyssey reflect the pursuit of different values. The Iliad demonstrates the human desire for glory and fame, adventure, war, violence, and the world of men, and the Odyssey demonstrates the human desire for homecoming, the hearth, safety, family, and the world of women. There are two vocabulary words to know, connected with this idea: Kleos and Nostos. The Greek word Kleos means the glory achieved through war. Nostos means homecoming, and all the complications and difficulties associated with it -- the way you've changed, the way your home has changed, and the hard journey you take to get there (the root for the word nostalgia). Usually a choice needs to be made between achieving one or the other, but Odysseus manages to gain both. In a 300 word essay, define Kleos and Nostos in terms of the events of the Odyssey, and give examples from the Odyssey that show how Odysseus achieved both a glorious career as a soldier and a successful homecoming.


(AP KIDS CHOOSE THIS ONE) Having read Aristotle's "The Aim of Man" in your reader, write a 500 word essay answering the following question: Are you happy? Aristotle's chief rhetorical strategy in this essay is definition, and that's the strategy you'll be primarily practicing as well. You'll need to define what is meant by "you" (you personally or your demographic?) and "happy" (happy like joyful? happy like satisfied? happy like busy?) and whatever other terms pop up. You'll also be practicing using quotes, with techniques exemplified by the Stephen Jay Gould essay. Include at least one meaningful block quote and several shorter quotes you can embed in your paragraphs. This essay needs to be turned in on paper in the first week we meet in January -- one copy for me and one copy for a critique partner. We will be revising it.


No quiz. Happy holidays. Finish reading The Odyssey so you can say you did.