Topics for essay, to be written in-class on November 6.
Choose one of the following essay topics. Think about the question, decide how
you wish to approach it, formulate a thesis statement and gather examples to
support it. You will have 90 minutes to write the essay in class.
Note: you will not be allowed to bring any notes or books for use in the exam,
so prepare accordingly!
Choose one of the following questions and write a coherent, well-organized,
and thoughtful essay on the topic. Remember to start with a clear thesis
statement and to support your argument with as many concrete details as you
can. You will be graded on organization and argument, as well as on content.
1) The dramas performed at the City Dionysia allowed Athenian citizens to
“play the other” and in this way to gain fuller understanding of the complexities
and contradictions of the (Greek, male) self. Discuss, supporting your
argument with reference to two plays we have read (tragedy, comedy, or satyr
play). You can choose any form of alterity (e.g. women, barbarians, gods). You
can also consider more than one form of alterity if you want, but make sure that
you connect them with a strong and coherent thesis.
2) In their attempts to explain and justify the differences between self and
other, the Greeks attributed those differences sometimes to physis, sometimes
to nomos. Pick any one form of alterity (e.g. barbarians, women) and discuss
the role of nomos and physis in Greek thought on it. Support your answer with
reference to no more than two texts we read in class. You may want to consider
not only how the author uses nomos or physis to understand alterity, but also
why he uses it the way he does.
3) Our texts have shown us many examples of the “other” seen through the
eyes of the “self.” Occasionally, however, we are shown the “self” through the
eyes of the “other.” Pick two examples and discuss. For instance, what does the
other’s perspective offer to the self? Why might the self be interested