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Lecture

Stories in Diverse Media (AP HUMA 1780B) – Wednesday September 12, 2012

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Department
Humanities
Course
HUMA 1780
Professor
Carl Wolfe
Semester
Fall

Description
Stories in Diverse Media (AP HUMA 1780B) – Wednesday September 12, 2012 Sophocles; Electra Characters: Electra: 1. Heroic stature: ethical intransience: defiance; cruelty; fearlessness; idealism; 2. Tremendous passion: immense and awe-inspiring fury, hatred, grief, love, and joy, however, incapable of moderation and self-control (customarily male Greek virtues) -> possible self-abuse. 3. Obsession with the past -> symbol of memory and justice (she cannot ignore past injustices) + the inestimable worth of every human life -> resistance to evil, carelessness, and forgetfulness, + a model for seeking the truth and stating it. 4. Emotionally instability: Oscillating between bitter hatred and tender love, profound sorrow and exalted joy -> possible self-alienation; 5. Morbid element either driven by a fierce loyalty to her dead father or dreaming about the murder of her mother, Clytemnestra, & Aegisthus 6. Morally inconsistent or naïve: opposing and simultaneously embracing the “eye for an eye” principle: also, not aware of the same law may get her killed in the future; 7. Tragic character: A) Disastrous consequences of her uncompromising nature; B) Not fulfilling her life as wife and mother, and being forced to become an avenger (blood must be punished by blood) C) A sense of irreparable loss (wasted past life + denial of a socially meaningful existence) Orestes: 1. Background figure: uncomplicated, unidimensional 2. Agent of Electra’s passion; 3. Bold, cunning, and resolute in his actions and plans for revenge; 4. Aiming for self-restoration; 5. No fear or remorse. Clytemnestra:  Unambiguously villainous and monstrous (adulterous; murderous mother and wife; unblemished hatred for her husband; cruel to Electra and Agamemnon’s body). J.P. Sartre (1905-1980)  Atheist philosopher (school of existentialism), novelist, playwright, journalist, and political activist.  Literature used as a vehicle for philosophical ideas and political statements (The flies) Political Context  In 1940 Nazi Germany invaded and occupied France;  Sartre denunciation of his fellow Frenchmen for their cowardly collaboration and hypocritical excuses (helplessness, innocence, conformism; self-preservation); The Flies “After our defeat in 1940 all too many Frenchmen gave way to discouragement or yielded to remorse. I wrote The flies and tried to show that remorse was not an attitude Frenchmen should choose after our country’s military collapse: Our past no longer existed. It had slipped between our fingers before we had time to grasp it and held it up to our gaze in order to understand it. But the future – even through an enemy army was occupying France – was new. We had a grasp on it; we were at liberty to make it a future of the defeated or a future of free men who refuse to believe that a defeat is the end of everything which makes a man want to live his life as a man” (J.P. Sartre; Interview) The Flies: Orestes 1. Inner emptiness -> total self-alienation + alienation from others. 2. Need for an act to “fill up the void of his heart” (murder) -> objective sense of
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