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CLA204 Lecture 5

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University of Toronto St. George
Jarrett Welsh

CLA204H1 - Week 5 October 11, 2012 THE GREEK HERO  The conceptual framework of legends and heroes. o The sense of idea of the legends and heroes. o Characteristics of specific hero types.  Perseus and Gordon (right image) o 3 bodies and 3 heads but not every head is attached in the body. What does the image convey? o Why is the middle man headless? Wings? Who are they? o Why are all these important for its legend?  What is a saga/legend? o “has a perceptible relationship to history”, whether true or false the story may be.  In contrast, myth has to do with the Gods; it lies in the end of the realm. It is also set in the time OUTSIDE human history.  Legends have strong perceptible relationship on the realm of human history. Human aspect is important.  E.g. How long ago was Trojan War? Or When did Artemis cause Actaeon’s death? o A myth and a legend can be connected together, like muthos (story; entertain the audience) and logos (spoken account: persuade the audience).  Legend vs Myth o In myths, the principal characters are gods and goddeses. o In legends, the principal characters are humans, even though gods and goddesses often play a role.  Legend features:  Purpose is to tell about the events of human past – Heroes  Hierarchy: Olympians, minor gods, demigods, heroes, mortals.  What is a “hero”? o For instance, in the movie: Lord of the Rings – Frodo is a (classical) hero.  Setting: “Middle-earth” (Anglo-Saxon England)  Heroic (Greek) features:  Has a helper or servant (Samwise Gamgee, but also the fellowship)  Falls under the power of an enemy (Ring)  Obstacle/enemy on his quest end of the world/to the land of the dead (Mordor)  Magical objects aiding on his quest (rings, cloak, phial, the sword Sting)  Returns home at the end of the quest “retirement”; peace and solitude at the end of his quest. o Frodo as a (non-classical) hero:  Humble, filled with self-doubt about finishing his quest.  Not seeking glory, surprised when he himself volunteers.  A hobbit: without the clear strength and superior size of a Greek hero, he avoids violence as much as possible.  He (kind of) fails in his quest: (pivotal point – he doesn’t choose to destroy the ring) “ I have come…but I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will not do this deed. The Ring is mine!”  Features of the Greek Hero o MAY have a divine parent CLA204H1 - Week 5 October 11, 2012 o Miraculous birth, but little is known of his childhood much of childhood spent elsewhere (“exile”)  E.g. Hermes and Apollo accomplished after their birth, or
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