Week 8: Myth, History and Ideology

 

I. Study questions for Euripides’ Children of Herakles and Ion:

 

                                           [background on plays]

 

1. To the extent that one can distinguish between the myths and the way they are presented in the plays,

 

            a. How do the myths portray Athens in a positive light?

            b. How do these plays of Euripides portray Athens in a positive light?

            c. Do these plays have anything negative to say about Athens?

 

2. What civic behaviors and values do the plays promote?

 

3. What is the connection between the ancient Athenians seen in these plays and the Athenians who watched them?

 

4. What difference does it make that these plays tell about Athens in the heroic past and not in Euripides’ present? 

 

                                                            NOTE: The answers to these questions may well be different for each of the plays.

                       

 

II. Study questions for Aeneid, books 1 and 2 [scroll down]:

 

            1.What does Vergil owe to the Iliad and/or the Odyssey?

 

            2. How is the Aeneid (or at least what you’ve read thus far) different as literature from the Iliad and the Odyssey?

           

            3.How should we understand the relationship between the Trojans in the Aeneid and the Romans of Vergil’s day?

 

            4. What civic behaviors and values are promoted in the Aeneid?  What would first-century BC Rome be like if it followed the values promoted in the Aeneid?

 

            5. Why is it important that the Aeneid be set in the heroic past, specifically in the aftermath of the Trojan war?