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Lecture 12

Lecture 12

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Myth Criticism • Deep roots needed for mythology Evolutionary Pscyhology • Applies principle of evolutionary biology: how the human mind evolved • What purpose did human traits serve? • Art and literature is the part of evolutionary psychology that is important to mythology • Mythology rooted in fundamental human nature Literary Darwinism • Apply the evolution or art and lit to see how myths are rooted in human evolution • Why do we tell stories in the first place? Why do our stores take the form they do? • Human conflict shaped by evolution Iliad in terms of Evolutionary Psychology • Robin Fox: looks at Trojan War and other stories as phenomenon of male bonding • Excluding females • Heterosexual bond between man and woman, as man with the husband and father is in fundamental conflict with male bonding • Applies to Bro code! • Fox looks at the women int he iliad as disabling females, threatening the male bond (this is a universal type) • CompareAchilles and Patroclus to Gilgamesh and Enkidu • Enikdu is a savage counterpart to keep him tamed • They form a bond, and enkidu turns him from a tyrant into someone more ‘civilized’ • But Enkidu must also be civilized by Gilgamesh by exposing him to female sexuality • Enkidu is setting all the animals Gilgamesh tries to capture, and he tells the stalker, Enkidu to go take a woman • As a result of his relations he becomes less phsycially ferocious and intellectually more mature • This makes him ripe for comradeship with Gilgamesh - no logner a brute • And the prostitute actually points to gilgamesh as his new comrade • Animals now turn from him as a result of his humanizing experience • In another version the prostitute asks him why he is hanging out in the wild and not in civilization/ she tells him to go be friends with Gilgamesh • This woman’s advice leads to male bonding which is at the heart of the epic, so clearly no conflict there • How does this play out in the Iliad? • Patroclus is more an elder brother figure for achilles - he looks out for him] • Patroclus is a sort of moral compass - he humnizes achilles • Male monding is what makes him human, but not the only thing • What es does patroclus encourage? Why does briseis mourn patroclus? • Patrcolus tried to change Briseis from a war prize to a wife - this must be looked as a process of humanizing him • Achilles is incomplete without a real, permanent female companionship • There does not seem to be a strong opposition (again) between mal bond and heterozesual bond • Gottschall • Blames the women • Sexual competition for women is at the root of male male conflict • This is seen in a bunch of different mammals • “parental investment gap” how much time effort is given ti bring an offspring intot h world • Amale can theoretically have a vast number of offpsirng • Male paternal care is a deeply rooted human trait so they don’t throw their sperm aroudn willy nilly • Takes a long time to turn an egg into a baby • So when you have a situation where the male can reproduce a whole lot and hte female is limited you get permiscious males and choosy females • More males wnat to mate than there are available opportunities • This leads to competition, for “previous resource” of fmeale reproductive cpacitypppp • Direct competition • Indirect competition as well feeds into the same goal: increasng reproductivr success • Even when you think youa ren’t seeking women (for example, seeking status) you’re still seeking women • This darwinian competition between men for female reproductive cpaacity conditions everthing in the iliad • Gottschall argues that high status chieftans likeAgamemnon asically participating in polygny • Female mortality: female infanticide was often practices. Unsure if this happened in homeric times but reasonable to assume • Speaks of “Homer’s missing daughters” • Homer mentions loads of sons, but no daughters • The sons are more cared for and asked after • Sexual selection • Women chosiness leading to macho butch warriors • This is why trojansn and greeks fight over Helen • Basically vicious cycle of fighting over women • The problem is: in the iliad how tdo the Greek and trojans present their conflict? The TrojanAnswer • Trojan elders say she is super pretty, and thus reasonable tofight for beautiful women • As they are super 3 function, they value helene’s beauty and thus sex GreekAnswer • Menelaus has the mot reason to be fighting for a woman is actually a backseat driver • The leader isAgamemnon, adn Odyssesu advises • Agamemnon says that they have suffered dishonor and shame • Odysseus thinks it is disgraceful • Thats what the greeks fighting for • The trojans think the war is abotu helen but more it is about honor • If sex is meant to drive the greeks we don’t reall see them displaying 3 fucntion desires • Sex is used as a weapon • Sex is a a road to status , not status a road to sex • The WIFE of a trojan, not just ny trojan woman • If it were just a trojan woman it woudl confiem Gotschalls theory • But sex has nothign to do with desire, it is a weapon • Revenege-rape • Achilles andAgamemon about sex: • Agamemonon bullies Chryses dad with threat of sex • Humiliatng sacrifice • Briseis is at the heart of conflict • Agamemnon takes her away from achilles to humiliate him • ButAchlles gives no sign he is interested in actual sexual relations with Briseis • He took away the toy but doesnt want to play with her himself • Briseis does not prompt sexual conflict: agamemnon does not ha
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