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Literary Tradition.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Suzanne Akbari

Literary Tradition  Know people because of/through writing despite culture/time period/language  Course based on classic literature, manifestation of world literature across time, background to English literature  Analysis of works, building block for English majors  Great books: path, way of walking through the literary tradition by stepping stones to cross river, follow path because related in some fashion, important, helpful, kind of a base for English literature, interesting  Tutorials count for 35% of your overall mark, attend as many as possible (all)  Essays: revising and writing well (3-4 pages, quality over quantity)  Literary contexts, effects, religious texts as literature  Poetics, reliant on sound, Qur‟an, Inferno etc. – spoken quality, only way it makes sense  Gathered stories (Canto‟s & Decameron & Arabian Nights), little pieces of a story fit into a larger story  World as mirror of self, self as mirror of world, view of self  Othello, lens, different as you read other things  Sciences allow you to do whatever you imagine that you might be able to but humanities show you why you might not want to –moral/ethical grasp vs./connected to scientific reach (technological advancements)  Learn about your own literary tastes  Content based classes vs. methodical based classes, this class = method based learning process  Set of observations, do notes taken from reading & integrate with lecture notes & tutorial notes  Reading as a group & individuals – balance  Strong writing, spend time on that Iliad  Oral quality of work, Iliad audio (Greek)  Written 1 around 800BCE, oral life before that  Meter scans show “w” sound already died out in Greek, shows signs of older form of Greek  Temples on holy days, special occasions, feasting occasions, recited on the street, ceremonial & family life (big part of)  Cadence meter different in Greek, important to reading & understanding, emphasized syllables  Poetic rhythms, power of language, intimacy of tone, declamatory quality, context of poem  8 century BC, began to be associated w/ Homer  Greek authors refer to Iliad as a person  Homer –Asiatic Greek, lived in Troy (Turkey) but spoke Greek  Triumph of Greeks over Trojans or is there more to it?  Troy would have been a ruin/memory of past/ relic or reminder, glory that is only a memory  Purpose/function of poem: not just a chronicle or history, assumes you know story of Troy already  Different story in Iliad vs. reality, not story of ten years, few weeks before everything falls apart  Why tell story of penultimate few weeks & not the end? Choice of cross-section, why?  Why these weeks so potent? Why only a small section, characters from story of Troy shows that audience already knows the ending/ what is going to happen but not how they take place or how people react/act  Fall of Troy  Why begin where it does, in the middle of things instead of at the very beginning? Opening line. st st  Order of wording (wrath, fury, anger is the 1 word in the 1 book)  Poem opens with invitation to goddess to sing  Wrath good quality for warriors to possess but also dangerous as it makes you reckless, useful but can be damaging to self  Is wrath special to Achilles or is it his wrath that is special in some way? Does he epitomize this quality in humans that gods find interesting?  Genres –provide organizational compartment but not limited to one  Tragedy -Iliad- fall, downward trajectory, people cast down, who‟s tragedy?  Iliad = epic  Is tragedy the right word for the catastrophe that is the Iliad?  Who is in control? Events slip out of people‟s and the gods‟ grasps, why does everything work out the way that it does, pre-ordained?  Unstable, many versions, extra stuff added along the way  200 BC, Alexandria, attempted fixed form to establish a reliable work, break down into chunks, which works were Homer‟s & which were not?  Gap between modern & earliest versions of text, manuscript (oldest = around 10 century)  1200 years unaccounted for between manuscript and Alexandria, starts out as oral text  Authorial control in modern times whereas in Homer‟s time not so much, ruin, will never know what it once was but we see what is left  Greeks & Trojans, range of people gathered together for common goal & then the Trojans divers range of allies (Achaeans & Trojans, personal & intense (Agamemnon & Menelaus vs. Paris etc.)  Argives/Danaans = Achaeans/Greeks  Expected to know origins of Troy story & main characters, who‟s fault? Why does the war happen?  Quick reference to Priam & his people suffering for Paris choosing Aphrodite -28 lines into book 24- (golden apple, insulting goddesses, „for the fairest‟) which leads to the destruction (Helen offered)  Helen is the catalyst to the war, kidnapped by Paris  Paris chose love of most beautiful woman (Helen) who falls in love with him & causes Menelaus‟ outrage, Menelaus moves to recover Helen & punish the Trojans for taking her, she is the trigger (cause & effect)  Women on Trojan side but not on the Greek side, symmetry & heroism vs. herabism, balance, parallel to each other (children)  Victims of war as well as participants, family structure, Priam (50 sons & 50 daughters); Kassandra (tragic) prophetess, beloved of Apollo but refuses him so she gets the gift of prophecy, no one listens to her  Family structure of Hector & Andromache, Paris & Helen  Gods = major/minor (Iris/Thetis = minor but also major in how the Iliad plays out) but important either way  Gods & men separated/on different levels sort of broken/torn apart in Iliad, persuaded, take sides, change their minds, fight & are wounded, reasons for supporting one side or the other (personal or other, moral), patronage, loyalty to other gods (Ares & Aphrodite), capricious quality to the gods (Zeus is un-committed to a point) very much like people but can‟t die (limit), cannot ever completely express loyalty as they cannot die for someone/something  Permanently changeable Book 1  Invocation of goddess  Division of body & soul (hades for souls, bodies = food)  Division between Agamemnon and Achilles (inside Greek camp)  Accomplishment of will of Zeus, gods having control (paradox of control vs. no control)  Conflict epitomized in the battle between Hector & Achilles, Achilles & Agamemnon conflict  Opening words, wrath  Sing goddess, where does the song come from?  How the will of Zeus was accomplished, how much power do the gods have?  Split between body & soul, why is split between Achaeans where we begin?  Why?  Chain of causality (Agamemnon), root of conflict  What is the gods‟ role in the Trojan War?  Line 60 -Kalchas- what do we know about the problem? Give Chriseis back.  Why Achilles is angry, what kind of power they both have & how those powers can co- exist in the same universe (Achilles & Agamemnon), Achilles‟ character, Agamemnon (blame the messenger, willing to give Chrysies back as long as she gets replaced with someone else, display of lordship), Achilles does not respond well to display (becomes irate, conflict, venomous & condemning)  Conflict really about pride, power & putting people in their places  Choice, makes that clear, chooses to obey Athena, strategically, do what the gods ask & they will do what you ask (Achilles), not going to hesitate to use his words & does not let go of his anger  Reciprocity between gods & man  (line 239) Oath, there will be a day when they need Achilles to fight but he will not, he wants to fight but sticks to his oath until his honor is satisfied, brooding Book 6  Communities different, big difference = invaders vs. defenders  Invaders = all male, defenders have women (home field, no choice not to bring them along)  Symmetry necessity vs. choosing to fight for glory (revenge etc.)  Trojans fighting not to die, Greeks fighting for pride and spoils of war, honor etc.  Trojans about territory, home, wives and children. Hector tries to control this.  Breaker of horses (praises a mighty man) shows up with Hector most often, beloved of Zeus (does not last)  good  (line 237)  see what is going on in city (with Paris)  Told them to pray, women concerned about their men (Athena pity on women and children (victims of war), what city will look like when it falls)  Goes looking for Paris, encounter with Helen (line 342)  words of endearment “Zeus set…destiny” etc. (Paris not a good man?)  Helen  beautiful (power = divine), power of Venus, dangerous (makes men forget things they ought to be doing)  Hector not as vulnerable to her as he might fall  Not compelled by gods towards love (Hector), strong sense of duty  (365)  foreshadowing, realistic, not unaware of possibility of doom, may not come back  Battles outcome rests in his shoulders  Strength will be his undoing, he is all Andromache has left (no more family), she appeals to his pity, not fighting is not an option, committed, (447)  Troy will fall one day, (454) thought of his wife being taken to work/ being a war bride troubles him most (her grief & slavery), knows he will die  (444) “I have learned to be valiant”, obligation, necessity rather than Achilles‟ rage (reasons they are formidable warriors), similar but also different  Astyanax does not recognize his father in the armor, is afraid  Family moment before Hector dies  Family groups of Troy = important dimension  Hector  defender “learnt to be valiant” vs. Achilles‟ reckless warrior personality, Hector has to fight, Achilles wants to.  Power  warriors shields (pg. 254), Agamemnon‟s shield vs. Hector‟s (Achilles‟s shield  foreshadowed by Agamemnon‟s long, detailed description)  Hector‟s shield  perfect roundness, symbolic of perfection of warrior, wind at his back (god-like power), (163) Zeus “to be with Hector”, as manly as could be, (line 287) “like a storm cloud”  like Zeus, reflecting their qualities, something happens to you when the gods are behind you, (295) Zeus granted him the glory, is the power all from the gods or does Hector also have his own power?  Who makes things happen? Free will pushed aside or affect the way things go? Fate? Book 8  (pg. 209) Hector in furious power propels him forward  (line 335)  (line 346) “stark eyes of a gorgon or murderous Ares”, death glare (literally)  Gaze, shield warriors  Agamemnon‟s shield, decorated with representations of the gorgons  Hector becomes the shield, gorgons head  manifestation of the diving power to wreak havoc, warfare (emblem)  Hector does not wear pretty decorations, he becomes it (gorgon) Book 9  Trojans are winning, Agamemnon ready to give up but Diomedes rallies the Greek troops & Nestor gives council (pg. 218), tells Agamemnon to divide a feast (why feasting?) & apologize to Achilles (treads lightly in suggesting this), flattery & diplomatic  How sincere Agamemnon‟s offers are in question, he promises (line 135) are conditional terms, how committed is he really? Makes promises he can easily go back on, still wants Achilles to bow down to him, supplicate  Odysseus, Ajas (Ajax), Phoinix – delegation sent to Achilles- persuasive speaker, warrior & persuasive because he knows Achilles  223, pre-planned speech, relays message accurately, councils Achilles to rescue the Achaeans before it is too late & that he will regret not helping when everyone has been slaughtered (Odysseus), rewards, (300) “If you hate Agamemnon too much at least take pity on the others who may give you glory as you may even slay Hector” (you can save everyone & be seen as a god)  Deceit, Achilles says he hates deceitful people (Odysseus or Agamemnon?)  Never to yield to Agamemnon, “not beguile me with words again”  Hatred & contempt for Agamemnon  Awareness of own fate/future/destiny, two swords of destiny (death & glory or life & no glory), choice to make between two fates (on a sword‟s edge/point), suspended  Talks of Achilles as a son & himself as a father figure, “made you all that you are…”, domestic relation to each other, emotional/personal persuasion but also uses (god- like/godly) glory, appeal to leave aside his anger out of mercy because that is the most god-like quality of them all instead of glory & power like Odysseus‟ plea, not skill in warfare (Phoinix)  Achilles is moved but not enough to change his mind, wrath not abated, waiting until Hector comes all the way down to the ships  Diomedes gets it, Achilles will fight again when his heart tells him to, or the god drives him to (urges), what is powerful enough to make him come
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