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Lecture

CLA204 9th class

3 Pages
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Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA204H1
Professor
Betsy Bennett Purvis

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June 3, 2013 CLA204 Classical Mythology Week 9 Introduction to the Greek Hero Myths of Perseus The Greek Hero (345-6) Vladimir Propp (the hero’s quest, “functions”) Joseph Campbell (the monomyth) Vladimir’s (Russian man) idea was that any kind of folktale could be broken down into what he called functions and he defined 31 different functions that account for all possible narratives. Russian folktale. Don’t have to have all 31 functions in every story because not all stories are that long. Ex. The function of leaving home OR putting on disguised OR being pursued by an enemy, vague generic idea that show up in same order no matter what kind of quest story. The Monomyth Campbell (American) was exactly the same thing as Vladimir. Hero quests always follow the same pattern/order and can be applied to Hamlet, Beauty and the Beast anything. Called them steps not functions, didn’t have official terminology. Receiving supernatural aid help you along you way, another step could be meeting with the goddess. Steps/functions allows us to fill in the blanks. Vladimir was interested in organizing/labeling things; Campbell was more interested in what it said about human nature and society we are looking for some kind of fundamental truth. All doing same thing expressing same fundamental question. Best steps functions/patterns that come out of the theories. • Usually one divine parent (usually leading to an extraordinary birth or childhood) Zeus is usually the divine parent. • Extraordinary in some way (often strength) Heroes are stronger then average person. Homer describes battle scenes. • Persecuted or pursed by enemies. Heroes have to go out and slay a monster or more often someone doesn’t like them and they have a dark cloud hanging over them, somebody is hoping they will fail. • Divine or human allies help (sometimes with magical objects) Usually from a god. Might be offered hospitality by a human helper. Or receives a magical piece of armour or cloak or device directions to get to a person or to monster they have to kill. • A human companion. Somebody who travels with them but is not as strong or awesome as hero himself (sidekick) • Labours. slaying monster whatever task they have to do. Ex. Hercules had to perform 12 labours in a row. Perseus is another ex. • Transgression of taboos and atonement horrible crime, crosses boundary not suppose to cross. Hercules murders his own family in a fit of insanity, perform labours and earn forgiveness for crimes they commit. • Rewarded with marriage and/or political power. Marriage to a princess usually so you get to be ruler. Romance elements at end of hero story common. June 3, 2013 • Conquering death (temporarily or permanently). Actually die and come back to life or become a god, they are able to cross boundary that normal human beings can not Greek Hero Cult Helping Friends and Harming Enemies Greeks worshiped heroes in the same way that they worshiped gods by making offerings to the gods and sacrifices. Depiction of tomb of Oedipus Heroes (sacred place) used to be human at some point but not quite human, hero is half way between a human and a god. They hang around their gravesite. Reciprocity >if you maintained it showed respect had ability to protect land were they are buried. Oedipus protected Athens from Thebes. Oedipus Hero cuz (Sophocles play) saved Thebes from plague and defeated Sphinx. Heracles has some heroic qualities ex. Has interesting birth story, help
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