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Week 1-3

by: Lauren Harris

Week 1-3 engl 2200

Lauren Harris

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These notes cover what we have gone over in class & what will be on the RAT
World Literature before 1600
Lindsay Doukopoulos
Class Notes
World Literature
25 ?




Popular in World Literature before 1600

Popular in ENGLISH (ENG)

This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lauren Harris on Sunday January 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to engl 2200 at Auburn University taught by Lindsay Doukopoulos in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see World Literature before 1600 in ENGLISH (ENG) at Auburn University.


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Date Created: 01/31/16
9 Major Literary Time Periods of Western Culture 1/29/16 9:18 AM  Quiz on Friday- 9 major literary time periods of western culture  Memorize the 9 eras and write them down on a sheet of paper • Oedipus 1. Ancient Greece  800-300 BC  First major literary movement in western culture  Major Authors: Homer, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle  Drama: Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes 2. The Roman Empire  300 BCE-300 ADE  Classics  Major Authors: Vergil, Ovid, Horace 3. The Middle Ages  300-1400  Major texts & authors: Chaucer, Dante, Beowulf 4. The Renaissance  1400-1600  The rebirth from the classics  The printing press  Major Authors: Shakespeare, Montaigne, Cervantes, Navarre, Milton (sort of) 5. The Enlightenment  1600-1789 (The French Revolution)  Authors: Alexander, Pope, & Jonathan Swift 6. The Romantic Era  1789-1850ish  Major Authors: Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley 7. Victorian Era  1850’s-1900’s  Major Authors: Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, The Brontes 8. Modernism  1914 (WWI) -1945 (WWII)  Major Authors: T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Hemingway, Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald 9. Post Modernism  1945- 2001 (9/11)  Major Authors: Kurt Vonnegut, Alan Ginsberg, Toni Morrison Dramatic Action:  What the character wants (when we know what he wants, we are able to plot the play out)  She wanted revenge on her husband bc he left her  She becomes very vulnerable once Jason leaves her  Motivation - Jason has left her  Subtext - she wants everything to go back to the way it was before, she is left with two children in a foreign land, she is entitled, powerful Nurse: “I wish the argo never had set sail…”  giving background of the characters  Through out the play, characters refer to Medea & Jason’s past exploits as important for understanding the present situation  Is this a desire to turn back the clock? Or does the past foreshadow their current predicament?  Theme – time is a major one Audience:  Jason not enough by himself Medea: An outsider x3 1. A woman in a male-dominated world (p. 792) 2. A foreigner or “barbarian” in a Greek city 3. A smart person surrounded by fools Who was the audience?  If you had power or wealth you would go see the play  Not well received by his peers Euripides:  Only wins playwriting competing 4 times (out of 90 plays)  Why not as popular as Sophocles? Team challenge: dramatic action, motivation, & subtext  The Chorus  Why is the Chorus made up of only women?  Women can sympathize with her more  How do they feel about Medea at the beginning vs the end?  They empathized with her then they didn’t want her to murder her children  Creon  Why does he relent & give Medea another 24 hours?  He is soft, he doesn’t have strong leadership, he is swayed by her persuasiveness  What can you say about his leadership?  Makes you wonder if he is able to stand by any of his decisions  Aegus  Why does he show up in the middle of the play? Plot hole?  On his way from the Oracle Delphi to find out if he can have kids, continue legacy & pass down wealth  He knows about Medea & grants her sanctuary in Athens anyways. Why?   Jason  What is the excuse he gives Medea for leaving her?  it was best for everyone, he wanted better for his sons  What kind of hero is he in this story? Why did the writer portray him this way?  She kills his bride & their children , to eliminate their children it unwritten the story of their marriage, turning back time like it never happened Recap of today:  Heroic backstory: golden fleece – golden years; theme 1: time  Theme 2: Medea the outside  Context: Euripides & his audience  Breaking down the plot: analyzing dramatic action of secondary characters Review:  The heroic past of our terrible characters  The all male audience  Medea’s “other” status. Her desire for revenge & to turn back the clock  Teams taught us the Dramatic Action of: the Chorus, Creon, Ageus, & Jason Children as currency:  Creon acts to protect his child  Jason acts to advance his children &/or make better ones with the princess  Aegus acts to acquire children  Medea’s only value to these men is as a mother, not as a woman. To punish them she has to un-mother herself Deus ex machina:  Translates to “deity from out of machine” What are we to make of the final lines?  Chorus talking  The gods do what they want, there is nothing that we can do Euripides’s Medea:  The myth was not invented by him  But it is his version in 431 BC that Medea first:  Kills her children  Kills the Corinthian princess  Is motivated by sexual resentment  Escapes on a chariot drawn by dragons Medea: Snubbed by the academy but a box office hit  “Medea” last place in the competition in 431 BC  Almost immediately after becomes hugely popular. One of the most performed in the ancient world (& ever since)  It lost & won popularity for the same reason: deeply unsettling play, especially for men Not a crime of passion:  The particularly horrifying force of Medea’s actions is that they are done in full knowledge & consent of the will  Dramatized two betrayals of the social order: husband against wife & mother against children  Which is worse? What makes us feel that way?  Mother against children bc they are her own flesh & blood, it is a different relationship than that with Jason, she has birthed & raised these children Protofeminist play?  “Women of Corinth” speech (line 212-276)  Strong woman, weak men  Deeply unsettling to male audiences  What counter evidence is there?  What matters more to her? Revenge or her children?  Revenge matters more to her bc she killed her children  None of this would have happened if Jason wouldn’t have abandoned her  Lesson: stay with your wives or chaos will happen Tragic Heroes:  Traditionally, tragic heroes remain generally sympathetic characters stricken with some overwhelming flaw, especially “hubris” or pride, that causes them to suffer & eventually repent for their errors, yet they never return to their initial state of greatness  Medea get what she wants in the end Medea: A tragic hero?  Medea, while obviously proud, never repents for her excesses, & the play actually concluded with her dramatic escape from any negative consequences to her actions  To what extent does Medea fit the mold of a tragic hero?  What kid of “hero” is she?  Anti-hero: She never intends to do what is best for everyone  Always looking to better her position, returning to a previous state of power


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