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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2200
Kendall Sharp

1 CLASSICS 2200 MIDTERM 1 “Myth” Defined • Story or story-elements • To be a story, minimally that something happened and someone did something • It doesn’t need to be a specific narrative • Traditional—no text, author, only versions • Variants (=versions) exist in sources; no “Original” • Myths don’t have authors; sources have authors • We had myth before we had writing • Myths exist only as versions so there is not one “right” version of a myth • Their versions have their existence in their sources • Subject to group control • Exerted through the Uses of Myth • Informal story-telling • Religious events • Story teller will tell a story that is in control of the group • Story teller is telling a story to an audience • If the audience doesn’t like it then the audience won’t pass it on and the myth won’t continue • Repeat same stories word for word • Group exerts control over the story teller • Oral tradition (oral means pre literate) • We never write it down we practice it from memory • Never the focal activity, always for some other purpose • Big 3 tragenians areAeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides (they are mythologists) can tell they are looking back at a written tradtiion that was an oral tradition • Myth is what they had when they were doing other things • Religious rituals and ceremonies • Civic dramatic performances • Decorative painting • Sculpture for various purposes • Feasts and Symposia (sing. Symposium) • Always used in conjunction with some other activity Epic Poems  Proem- really old fashion word for an introduction  Epic poems as a source for myth, we don’t see myths as having an authoritative text but only different versions  The more sources, the more versions, the better we think we know this myth  Epic poems like the Odyssey are stories about the generation of heroes  The war around the city of Troy was the watershed event for ancient Greek myth  Epic poems are about the people who fought in the Trojan war (form of history)  Mythic time is just back there in the past  There still is a historical time line, and the Trojan war was the number 1 big event  These are also epics of periods before the Trojan war 2  Pre Trojan war figure is Hercules and also Oedipus and the so called 7 Thebes  Oedipus is a mythical person who was a king of Thebes  7 of Thebes is when his sons kill each other  Epic called the Thebiad is the epic about all the heroic events that happened at Thebes  Illiad and Odyssey are the 2 biggest and the only ones that survived  Epics that are concerned with the Trojan war itself is the Iliad  Homecoming- where the heroes who survive the Trojan war try to go home  Anumber of bad things happen to these guys on their journey home  Odyssey is about how hard it is for Odysseus to go home (bad things keep happening to him)  Oresteia is the son of everyone who ran the Trojan war  There are always subtle changes being introduced Odyssey ­ Tell me, Muse (Muse are the daughters of Zeus and where we get the word music, goddesses of memory primarily) ­ Epic poetry depends on the use of human memory ­ The whole Odyssey is being channeled by Homer from the muse ­ Many ways means many turns to his character, he is crafty, devious (trickster hero) ­ Epithet- oral poetry uses this, rarely is a character just referred to as their name, usually has many nicknames ­ He is on a journey but it wasn’t optional ­ Driven to go on this journey and on his journey home he was driven on that journey as well and that’s why it took 10 years to get home ­ Odysseus sacked (spoiled, conquered) the citadel of troy (high point of a city, where king may reside (a place of last resort, the last piece to conquer)) ­ If everything goes wrong, you can go to the citadel ­ Odysseus gets credit for sacking Troy (used a trick) ­ Odysseus came home solo, everyone else were killed on his far journey home ­ He saw many people in many cities and with these people he learned their minds ­ He got to learn many other ways of life and many other people ­ He suffers a lot, his story is just full of him suffering ­ He is also on the sea a lot of the time ­ At line 11 its like the poet stopped talking and it became the muse ­ Athena is standing right there and is routing for Odysseus to come home ­ She helped make the homecoming bitter for the Greeks ­ Homer didn’t know the word Greek because it was not yet used ­ So called them achaians’ which means Greeks ­ it’s only the new stuff a singer can have a hit with ­ Penelope asks Phemius to stop singing nostos poems as it reminds her of her husband ­ Zeus is the one who gives out to men to eat bread ­ Zeus has various plans and we don’t know what they are until we get involved ­ Odysseus goes down into the underworld and sees a bunch of dead folks and one of them is Oedipus’s mother ­ Oedipus’s mother has a different name (how myths can have significant variations) ­ Odysseus says he saw Oedipus’s mother who as done a monstrous thing Fury = Erinys 3  Avenging goddesses  Chthonic vs. Olympian  Eumenides = “The Kindly Ones”  Mythological characters  They aren’t goddess that you worship or name a city after them but they have one purpose but that is to be repulsive and scary and exact revenge on somebody who hurts his or her mom  Very special kind of curse  These goddesses are Chthonic gods which means they are different form Olympian gods  Olympian gods called this because they live on mount Olympus (these aren’t furies), highest place to live, where 10 big gods and goddesses live  Chthonic gods were from underground which makes them freaky and scary, usually invisible but can become visible if they are trying to hunt you down  Chthonic is another word for earth Oedipus in Authors before Sophocles  What did Sophocles audience already know about the Oedipus myth?- play Oedipus the king has a mystery aspect to it, everyone in the audience knows that Oedipus killed Liaus but none of the characters in the play know  When someone important would die, you would play games at their funeral  Way to celebrate the funeral, you would have games and former colleagues would compete Hesoid and Oedipus  Pre Sophocles version of Oedipus is Hesiod  Hesiod said that Oedipus died and his property is up for grabs  When he died it was ambiguous what would happen to his property  No more detail is given but the audience knew about Oedipus and didn’t need more information  Theo- gods and Gony- birth  Cadmeians are the people who live in Thebes  Afew centuries before Sophocles version, the sphinx had a story about bringing destruction to Thebes and Oedipus had an unhappy end, it’s not a heroic end, ambiguity** about his family relation The Thebiad and Oedipus  Thebaid- epic about thieves  Lost epics but we have some fragments  Laius- name of Oedipus father, biological father who he killed and who’s kingdom he took over  Cups that belong to Laius, Oedipus doesn’t want them used but his sons put them on the table, and so Oedipus said curses  Sons should divide their inheritance  Oedipus is angry about these cups that used to belong to his father because his father has put a curse on his family  By cursing his sons, he brings more hell and suffering among his family  Everyone for Sophocles knew this about Oedipus Pindar Olympian Ode 2.35 ff.  Sophocles was alive when Pindar wrote this so their lives overlapped 4  Audience of Sophocles has probably learned this song  Pindar means a lot of myths, refers to myths a lot  Before Sophocles, there was already the prophecy  Pytho is the nickname for the oracle ofApollo at Delphi  Erinys is the avenging Fury, the avenging fury help Oedipus kill Laius  Laius had gone to Delphi and ask the oracle for a prophecy and he got a prophecy and he said beware of son because he will kill you (Laius was careful but Oedipus still killed him, it didn’t help him from keeping it from happening)  Sons of Oedipus killing each other  Family where they had sex with each other and killing each other, extends over at least 3 generations Aeschylus  He wrote a trilogy of plays, you the writer would write 3 plays and they could be interconnected  These three plays came one right after another and would continue the story  Satyr- half man and half goat, always getting into trouble, always drunk and horny  Seven against Thebes- 7 Greek kings who attacked the city of Thebes so Thebes needs a king  In Sophocles version, Oedipus blinds himself and exiles himself  Treating the Oedipus myth without focus on him  Oedipus is already the king of Thebes, he isn’t suffering, so it doesn’t begin with baby Oedipus, he has already grown up is the savior of Thebes from the sphinx  First time we see Oedipus blind himself, audience knows this is the end of the play, in the earlier stuff we don’t see Oedipus blind himself  Oedipus and his mother didn’t realize that they were mother and son at first but later on they find out once they are married, unconscious incest  Homer says that it is the mother who found out, begin by not knowing they are mother and son but the story is about them finding out, key to the story that they don’t know they are mother and son but it is also key that they find out but what isn’t key is how they find out, rework the myth and tell it you need to stick by them not knowing  Myths are subject to group control so with Aeschylus they changed this around (changes the curse to the end of the story)  When Oedipus finds out, he can’t take it and according to Aeschylus curses his sons  Once the curse is out there, it’s out there and you can’t do anything about it  Aeschylus has moved the curse to the end of the tragedy  Aeschylus brings in the curse and furies  Story of Oedipus is trans-generational and it involves a curse (not just about Oedipus himself)  Curse goes from father to son and from that son as a father to his own sons  You are suppose to go kill the person who kills your father but Oedipus killed his own father  Aeschylus likes a good curse (always brings out curses) ** and for the Oedipus play, his climax isn’t just the recognition of what he did with his mom, but the curse too  Banishment is as bad as death (better than slavery but as bad as death) Oedipus Variations (Obligatory vs. Optional) - Laius has cursed himself by a figure named Pelops for committing a sex crime (Laius dad was not a good dad and Laius ends up fleeing and going into exile and he goes and stays at the house of Pelops as a guest (formalized relationship between aristocrats) 5 - Laius is a guest of honor and gets treated really well, takes advantage of this (falls in love with the son of Pelops and sexually assaults him) and Pelops curses him - If you don’t have obligatory things in your story then it isn’t the same and you aren’t really telling the story (if you don’t have incest in the story then you aren’t really telling it) - Not only does he marry his mother but he kills his father - Obligatory story elements: - Not necessarily the death of Oedipus is a part of his unhappiness - King with unhappy end or fall - Parricide (kills his father) - Incest (has sex with mother) - Probably obligatory - His father Laius gets the oracle (beware of your son) - You could take babies outside the city where no one would find them and babies can’t last long but I’m going to cripple the baby (injure his feet) first so that this baby will have no chance and exposes him on the mountain side (you need the oracle about Laius (he is cursed by somebody)) - Later on he goes to Delphi to get an oracle (I’m going to outsmart fate but it doesn’t work) - Exposure as an infant is probably obligatory (how we could unknowingly kill his father and unknowingly marry his mother) - Optional - The name change of Oedipus’s mother - Whether Oedipus had children with his mom, every story said they have sex, but in Sophocles, they had children but before Sophocles, one version is Oedipus married his mother, had sex, and then she kills herself, he remarries and then has kids, Sophocles gets rid of wife number 2 - The Sphinx is optional because maybe you can tell the story of the guy who kills his father and marries his mother without the sphinx - The blinding is also optional as to whether he did it himself or a different way - For Sophocles, its one of the most memorable parts of the play - The actors wore masks during the plays so you wouldn’t see the actors faces and the mask was an unmoving mask, immobile face - Actor would be speaking through a hole so for the play when Oedipus blinds himself offstage when he comes back onstage he has blood coming through the holes - Blinding though before Sophocles wasn’t necessarily obligatory - Whether Oedipus goes into exile, dies, or keeps on living as king but is of course unhappy because he is living under a curse Literary History of Tragedy - Greek tragedy has a history beforeAeschylus but we don’t know what it is because text didn’t survive - Thespis was suppose to be the guy who produced the first tragic play on the stage - All of mythology belongs to all the Greeks - It was the Athenians that has the famous tragic and comedy festivals - Basic structure of a tragedy is that there is a chorus of several people that are in costume and there is only 1 actor - As time passes, they added a second character so they could talk to each other - What makes it a play is having a single actor playing a part and they would talk back and forth with the chorus - Chorus mostly sings and the lines that they sing are called choral odes and they dance but don’t dance well because they are wearing platform shoes - Chorus wears masks so they didn’t show their face to audience (mask is oversize) & wore high boots 6 - We don’t really know what these masks look like because they were made of wood Civic Role of Tragedy • Religion & Civic Life highly intertwined • Tragic plays were performed at a religion festival • ***Greater Dionysia • Dionysus was god of drama • Political role of tragedy • Ideally (in the ideal realm) all the citizens are present (whole body) • In the politial city and in the dramatic audience • Greek tragic plays, we have a concrete idea of how the group controls the story • Group would vote at the end of the week • Tragedy performed at Religious Festival Oedipus asAthens - Sophocles has made Oedipus the man share character traits with the city ofAthens. - In this way, Sophocles is using the myth of Oedipus to affect his audience in a certain way, or to play off how his audience feels. - His audience is “the group” in our definition of myth. - - Sophocles used political dimension in many ways - 5 century could be calledAthenian century - Early in the 5 century, Persia invades and is repulsed and it’s a huge deal because it’s a huge army and have many allies - Athenian navy is key, they built ships, that’s how they beat Persia - Before thisAthenian didn’t have navy - Another key insideAthens, it was the army that repelled Persia meaning that the regular Joe was important (you just had to be healthy) - Internally Athens was becoming more democratic and more wealthy - Athens had confidence and energy and initiative, they were always doing things and on the move - This is how more or less Sophocles describes Oedipus (he is a problem solver, don’t mind that he is in charge, he is good for the public) - InAntigone song called ode to man but generally you don’t write odes to men, you write them to gods - Suggestion in Oedipus the king is that this level of confidence is bad - Humans aren’t trapped on land, we can build ships - On land we need to manipulate (we have technology) - Oedipus is king of Thebes by merit (doesn’t know his dad was the king) and he earns the job by defeating the sphinx (Sophocles have the audience call him tyrannos) - He exhibits an action (very fast to solve this problem) and he is even impatient and wuick to anger when he is provoked - When people come to him at the beginning, he is willing to fix the problem right away (confident, competent, and energetic) - All the babies are being born with birth defects and all the crops are dying in the field - Antigone was no mention of gods at all - The next war that the Athenians fought was against Sparta (30 year war) - By the time Oedipus the king, the war had been going on for more than 10 years and there had been a plague that broke out in Athens 7 - Athens was surrounded by defensive walls because Spartans were invading - He had a different message what it means to be an Athenian - Sophocles decided to write a play about someone who becomes everyone’s hero and he is married to someone who is beautiful looking - Know thyself and nothing too much and these encourage humans to practice self knowledge - Sophocles is saying that Athens has not known itself and has acted with constraint - Sophocles answers in the play that everyone should have seen this coming - You weren’t doing as well as you thought when you thought you were doing well - Excessive optimism (over rating of the self) - InAncient Greek religion, idea of the mortal who has too much confidence and power, who focuses too much on one area of life - Idea is that it is a problem among humans to be excessive and to not really perceived what is going on with our own selves - Oedipus has no clue what kind of life he is actually living - Life is the sort of thing that can go incredibly wrong in the blink of an eye - Call no man happy until he is dead- because everything could be great but then wake up one morning and life is awful and something terrible happened, key to a good society What happened before play starts - Starts at the very end of the Oedipus story - So we need to figure out what they knew before the play starts - All the mythical stuff happened before the play but does have the characters talk about it - During the play, he doesn’t kill his father, during the play he doesn’t marry or have children with his mother because play is a very limited amount of time - Doesn’t dramatize the weird stuff - Reveals what happens through the characters talking - Audience already knows how the story ends - Sophocles has to backfill about what traditional options he has chosen to put in - Structure of Oedipus Rex - Aristotle didn’t know Sophocles or see the play but he read it, philosopher who wrote the poetics - Poetics is the first work of literary theory that we have - Recognition is when the main hero discovers something - Another key piece of drama is the reversal of fortune- tragedy never ends happy - Key emotions for the audience are pity and fear, play wants to tell the story in such a way that scares the shit out of you and makes you want to cry - Then, there is a katharsis (purification) which means that there’s a purging or release, action on the stage gins you up with pity and fear and then shows you something towards the end or at the climax that purifies you (you have pity and fear but then there is something that releases this pity like a mind bath so you feel good after watching tragedies) - Oedipus is the perfect tragic type because he is extremely successful but he is not perfect - Oedipus’s story has reversal due to unconscious error (how could he have avoided this error, he couldn’t because he lacked self-knowledge) - Aristotle says nothing happens that is improbable (by contrast that happens off stage, very improbable being exposed on country side and come back to kill father and then marry his mother) - Sophocles leaves that mythical to the audience and then in his own story, it unfolds the way human events unfold - First episode is called a prologue 8 - Starts off with a plague and prologue ends with Delphi bringing a message from the god ofApollo for why Thebes is having a plague - Miasma = pollution; there is pollution because there is a murderer walking through Thebes (this murderer’s victim was the king) - Murder is not illegal, instead murder is a private matter (revenge), and you would have to prosecute the person but it’s going to be you who prosecutes them - It is not a crime but it is worse because the Greeks believed that murder brought onto the whole community ritual pollution (miasma) and polluted the whole city - Ritual pollution- if you murdered someone unjustly then it is unholy for you to go to religious ceremonies which was a huge part of Greek life - Idea is that if you killed someone and are getting away with it, is that you just continue on living your ritual life - What the Gods do is cause a plague to break out in your community (killing the crops in the field so they won’t have a food supply and killing babies before or right after they’re born and same goes for farm animals) - Send to Apollo and ask why they have this problem and he said there’s an unsolved murder and says plague will go away when you get rid of the murderer (detective story that morphs into a trial) - Oedipus thinks he is looking for the murderer, but it turns out he has been presenting the case against himself (tragic irony is that Oedipus is collecting all of this information) - Starts off being one kind of story and once it notices it becomes the other kind of story it actually started a few minutes before (from the very beginning it was a case being presented to Oedipus) - Curses the murderer so he is unconsciously cursing himself (saying he should be exiled) - If you get rid of the murderer by exile it is as good as killing him - Tiresias- shows up in lots of myths, he is a man but lives for many generations and has spent time as a woman and has had an interesting life - Tiresias knows who the murderer is but isn’t speaking so Oedipus is saying that it’s Tiresias - Laius was told if you have a baby you are doomed that it will kill you so Laius tries to get around it and tries to have the baby killed - Oedipus mentioned that he killed someone but it couldn’t have been Laius - Jocasta now knows the oracles and prophecies are real, but Oedipus starting to believe they’re wrong--since he believes he has now got evidence that several robbers attacked Laius. - One thing that might be improbable, messenger from Corinth looks at the herdsman and they look at each other and realize they know each other because Laius gave them Oedipus when he was born - Jocasta puts the 2 together and flees the stage - 3 recognitions- Jocasta, herdsman and messenger, Oedipus recognizes the truth - This is the climax from the audience perspective - Big recognition was when Oedipus realizes the truth (this is the climax of the play) - Now Oedipus is like Tiresias: he sees better with no eyes. He is also connected toApollo, though impure. Outcast status emphasizes his individuality & singularity. - Oedipus comes out with his eyes bleeding - Reason I put my eyes out is because I can’t bear to look at my children because he knows they are his brothers and sisters as well - Says he wants exile not murder because murder is too good for him - Play ends with Oedipus (the murderer) leaving town and the town gets better and crops start to grow and then babies are born again - You don’t know what Oedipus will go through on the way to learning that not only is he the killer of his father but the current husband of his mother - Oedipus is a good guy but his flaw is having a temper (regular person flaw) - Climax of the play occurs when Oedipus finds out everything that we know 9 Sophocles’ Choices - One huge choice Sophocles made had to do with sheep (herdsman messenger to the Corinth) - Huge move from viewpoint of putting it on the stage - Not important from the viewpoint of using the myth because he doesn’t change anything - Also adds Corinth to Oedipus’ biography - Makes up that Oedipus becomes a part of their royal family - Plays up incest more than other versions (you got to have incest in there for it to be Oedipus) - Earlier sources don’t have Oedipus and the mother have kids - Downplays the curse (says that the curse happened because something his father did years ago) - Furies (avenging spirits) are downplayed so they can emphasizeApollo (god of prophecy and purification) (prophecy tells you why there’s a plague at Thebes and then haveApollo do purification so the plague goes away) - For Sophocles he moves the location of the triple intersection between Thebes and Delphi because he is addingApollo to the story and Delphi isApollo’s special place - Earlier versions it was near an area sacred to the furies but Sophocles is downplaying them so he comes the intersection - Puts Tiresias in the myth (isn’t a part of myths earlier) - Self-blinding and self-exile, he chose to put those in - Sophocles chose to talk about the Sphinx and it is probably optional - Added a plague which made it relevant because his own audience just experienced a plague (made the play culturally relevant) - When the herdsmen recognize each other, it doesn’t change the myth (has it for the effect for telling the story) - Master purpose for all these changes is to have self-discovery - Whole story is about how Oedipus finds this stuff out that the audience already knows - When the gods wreck human life, we cant tell why “TwoArt Deities” - Apollo is the God who shoots from the far (bow and arrow) and so he can send a plague to the city in the form in an arrow - His instrument is the harp because he is a musical God; he is also a visual god - State of consciousness (the dream) - Apollo is the god of prophecy and they show prophecy’s through dreams - Dionysus is some how not a part of every day life - Dionysus instrument is the pipe and is the god of mask, wearing mask, disguise and costuming, and the God of the carnival and the festival where normal society shuts down for the weekend and everyone acts differently, also the God of wine Structuralism - Cultural relevance- important because its how a group controls what is in a myth and how it lives on in future generations - Cultural contradictions- features that don’t quite add up - Amyth [must] “get to” the members of a community--i.e., be culturally relevant-- enough to live on another generation. - Acommunity uses myth as a way to mediate between 2 or more pieces of the culture that don’t go well together - Myth is a part of human culture - Idea is that every culture of every group on the face of the earth of humans do come to terms with the fact that we are natural creatures but also cultural creatures and there is no continuity between these 2 things 10 - Our natural selves is what is considered meat and when we die biological waste - Culturally, I am a person with a name and a family - Problem of paternity is a big one because the only reason you call the person your dad is because that’s what they tell you, and mothers can lie to you about who your father is - Common correlation between nature and culture, we are both nature and culture - Nature is to culture as male is to female - Structural law of a myth takes the pieces out of narrative order and adds them in a new way for the sake of the explanation - These are some story elements or mythemes: Oedipus marries his mother, Oedipus solves the riddle, Eteocles and Polyneices kill each other - Oedipus marries his mother and kills his father, this is contrast because it is taking a family relation and making it too close (marrying mother) or too distant (killing father) - Some are parallel, Oedipus kills father and then Oedipus sons kill each other - Element of lameness - Oedipus name translates into swollen foot, his fathers name translates into something with the left hand side (right is good luck, left is bad luck) - Thebes is a city where everyone’s ancestors are suppose to be born out of the earth - Cosmology is important to believe that they are born out of the earth for the community they are talking about - Myth gives you a way of translating biological birth into this logic of autochthony - These stories ultimately say your religion is true - And this myth is an indirect way of living with itself - Myth expresses problems of descent, of regular family relations, in the lameness of the paternal line - Labdacus dies too early to raise Laius to be the next kind of Thebes - Laius has to go elsewhere to be raised safely so he won’t be killed - Laius goes off and when he is a guest, and when he is a certain age he rapes the son - Oedipus has to encounter Laius on his way back to Thebes; clash of generations: coming/going wrong way; rather than normal succession - The riddle: the answer is human being - One voice, four feet in morning, two feet in afternoon, three feet in evening - NB: Sphinx defines the creature by its gait (the way it walks) - Oedipus is all at once! Two-footed, three-footed, because like father, four-footed, because like own children - Riddle defines the problem of Oedipus, he solves riddle, but does not recognize that riddle describes himself at each and every age. - Sophocles makes Oedipus’ recognition of himself to be the main event - Elements (mythemes) make sense in terms of the logic of myth by getting recombined in various ways (and not others). - Oedipus myth recombines society’s basic status and social roles with the vicissitudes of personal identity to produce its story. It thereby meditates on the normal order, via inventing a systematically abnormal one. - In solving the riddle Oedipus demonstrates the trickster figure - There’s always at least one figure known for playing tricks (thinking and doing things that are crocked) and not normal or straightforward - In breaking the rules of society (stealing something or being tricky) paradoxically uphold the rule system of the universe/culture/society - Doing right by doing wrong 11 - Odysseus is a trickster figure (man of many ways, has a lot of options, he thinks more than your average Greek hero, frequently attains his ends by doing something devious like taking the city of Troy by trick) - Prometheus is also a trickster (steals fire from the gods and gives it to human beings to give them technology) - Structuralism has taught us to think of myth as a whole - Myth as a whole forms a combinatorial system where the parts of words are put together in different ways - You can take the words apart, take it from one story line and put it in another story line - It’s not just that Oedipus killed his father but also how Oedipus’s sons killed their father - The story as a whole by presenting an abnormal state of affairs underscores and passes on to the next generation a picture of life ought to be - By being abnormal sends a message about what is normal - Personal identity that is concerned is that of Oedipus - It sounds like a dirty story, about incest, killing your father, screwing up your kids lives, these are all bad things but the story as a whole by presenting an abnormal state of affairs underscores and emphasizes passes on to the next generation passes on a picture of the way life ought to be - By being abnormal communicates a message about what in real life is normal - System as a whole how it works - Many have tried to answer the riddle but have all gotten it wrong - Only Oedipus can solve the riddle because he can think tricky thoughts, it takes one to know one - Oedipus out tricks the trickster monster - Oedipus breaks rules but doesn’t know it, but it qualifies him as a trickster (practices deception) - He walks with a crooked gait is his strength because spoke about regular decent in terms of physical lameness and so this fits in with the pattern of being a trickster because they obtain their ends by tricky means (so even though he isn’t thinking crafty, what structuralism picks out is that his paradoxical strength is from his crooked gait) what is normally metaphorical, it is now physical (Oedipus is literally made so that he walks with a limp) - Inside the myth as a whole, he resolves the problem of his family curse by being even more abnormal than his father and grand father, as trouble as his ancestors or sons will be, there is not somebody who kills his father and has sex with his mother, that is worse than exposing an infant - Only because he doesn’t know his parents are in Thebes, that’s where he goes and he solves his parents problem to the sphinx Gilgamesh - Gilgamesh is the opposite as a trickster - Encounters problems with root force in a very straightforward way - Not Greek - Myth is a Mesopotamian myth - Not concurrent with the myths of the Odyssey or Oedipus - Mesopotamian is now Iraq - The east (middle east) culture and civilization (living in cities and being able to have big pieces of architecture) starts in the east and moves to the west - There was a general pattern of culture drift from east to west - You can learn about one culture’s mythology by reading another culture’s - Scholars developed a method called comparison (you can learn one culture’s mythology by studying another culture’s mythology) - You can decide which myth influenced the other 12 - 3500-2300 BC: Gilgamesh was king, Uruk was a town growing into a city, Sumerian people lost control after 800 years to theAcadians, it was really just the government that was conquered by the Sumerians,Acadians adopted Sumerian mythology and translated things into Acadian - In Greek BronzeAge was when they knew how to write but then in 1150 they completely forgot how to write (ended), called Dark Age because there’s no written record and when the Dark Age ends, its because the Greeks came up with a new way of writing - Greek archaic age- Demeter lived and Greek ClassicalAge is when Sophocles lived - Cultural drift went form Mesopotamia to the Greek world via the island of Crete - Structuralism in Levi Strauss, he is talking as if the language of myth is something that is innate in the human mind and thus have neurological reality to it - Structuralism is useful when we are talking about myth in terms of influence as each culture passes on the myth orally - The reason myth lasts generation to generation is because the structural principles that makes it desirable to keep passing on these elements - For influence to last, the reason it lasts is because of the structural principles that make it easy and desirable to keep recombining these elements Question of diffusion & influence - First similarity is from Gilgamesh - Gilgamesh has gone to the underworld so he can get the plant to live forever - He is bringing it back to civilization from the underworld and as he is traveling he saw a pool where the water was cool - We went down to the water and washed himself - Asnake smelt the fragrance of the plant and the snake went to take the plant - Two Greek poets: Ibycus (6th c. BCE) & Sophocles (5th c. BCE) - Herb = plant of immortality - Mortals grow old because there was a failure to deliver the gift of immortality - Spring = water - It says that snakes don’t die, they get renewed - Key is that they slough their skin - Ishtar (belongs to Mesopotamia is the greek version ofAphrodite (venus) - Story where a hero attacks the goddess physically - Mortal mistreats a goddess - Gilgamesh says to Ishtar that you will love me and then treat me like you treat everyone else - You don’t want to get involved with Ishtar long term because eventually she will do you in (this angers Ishtar) - Enkidu listens to Ishtar and insults the goddess physically - Hero Diomedes is very successful in battle, he is like invincible - Aphrodite then appears in battle - Tydeus = Diomedes - Only Aphrodite is being assaulted - Old story of a warrior assaulting a goddess Similarity with Gilgamesh, Odyssey and Oedipus - Odyssey somehow influenced by Gilgamesh - Searched land everywhere - Gilgamesh found out what was secret and brought them out (when he went to the underworld) - Odysseus also goes into the land of the dead - Gilgamesh & Odysseus take a round underworld trip (they experience part of death without dying) 13 - The story comes from far away, both Gilgamesh and Odysseus and Oedipus fall out of their own societies but come back - Gilgamesh leaves city of Uruk and ultimately comes back - Odysseus and Gilgamesh are both favorites of at least one god - All 3 of them are all kings (exemplary) - Culture hero is one way of being exemplary - Prometheus stole fire from Zeus - Gilgamesh build the wall that you see today in Uruk - You need the wall to defend you from attacking armies but the wall also has a cultural wall because it separates culture from nature - ANE-Ancient Near East,ANE their kings were regarded as Gods - Gilgamesh is divine in that he is part God and has dreams when the Gods talk to him which is part of real life, part of what makes you special is that the Gods talk to you in dreams and this is what you would do if you were a Pharaoh or God - He is like a super hero because he has abilities that normal people don’t have - Plot of the story is the process of Gilgamesh acquiring social humanity and a key part is that there is no question whether he is strong enough to rule, he has capacities that he isn’t limited from anything (no question whether he’s strong enough to rule) - Structural approach helps us see inside the story to help us see the process of Gilgamesh gaining social humanity - Story of how he comes a social human, like us in the audience - His story doesn’t just contain Gilgamesh himself, but about what it means to be human - Something universal about Gilgamesh - No one can match his strength - At the beginning of the epic were told that he harms the community by being a screw monster (has sex with everyone’s sons and daughters) and everyone is a victim to him - Story about mediating the difference between human and divine - He is not part of the group which is a problem because he is strong - He is monstrously human (human with a negative difference) Gilgamesh and Kirk (Structuralism) - Not just how this person Gilgamesh but the bigger question is what it means to be a member of society (one of us who is an individual animal but is also part of a culture) - At the beginning he is not part of society (he is 2 parts god) and is inflicting a cost on society, monstrously human (screwing everyone and you can’t do anything about it) - At the beginning Enkidu is yet to be created (opposite of Gilgamesh because he is an animal and lives with them but thinks about the group) - Enkidu is like a herd animal and drinks with animals (on all fours and puts face in the water) - But takes care of the group in a way that animals don’t - There were hunters and traps and Enkidu foils the traps and screws up the fishing and hunting on behalf of the animals of who he considered his social group - Kirk wants us to pay attention to the theme of nature and culture where Enkidu begins as too natural and Gilgamesh begins as hyper cultural but kirk brings out because we care about the fact that myths are complex and there isn’t one right way - Gilgamesh lived a long life near the east, Sumerian was the earliest, then conquered by Acadians and then they remade it, and kirk noticed a difference between the 2 versions and theAcadian version brings something else from the Sumerian version - TheAcadian version tells us a story about nature vs. culture and how a human being is both at the same time 14 - Key difference that kirk notices is what Enkidu does in theAcadian version, the gods created Enkidu as a second self for Gilgamesh so he has close to matchless strength and will be inserted into society to go against Gilgamesh - At first when Enkidu arrives, they fight but Gilgamesh comes to care for Enkidu which is a step to socialization and upon Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh changes to nature and ultimately to mortality - In the story of Gilgamesh it is being initiated into mortality - Enkidu is made out of the earth - Nature just goes on by itself, it never stops - Culture takes work and cultures work is taming nature - The contrasts between male and female, Structuralist says male is to female as culture is to nature - Raw is to cooked as nature is to culture - In the beginning Gilgamesh is hyper cultural and Enkidu is hyper natural - They go into nature to kill its monster - In the middle of the story, after they go to the pine forest to kill the monster, they reenter culture and they kill culture’s monster (bull of heaven) - Enkidu insults Iskar and there is a shift in tone when Enkidu dies (he is mortal) - Enkidu gets sick and the key point is that the sickness lasts so he dies slowly and this is hard on Gilgamesh, he thinks what does this mean for me (my friend is dying but will this happen to me) - Enkidu is Gilgamesh’s mirror and second self so Gilgamesh then starts to slide to hyper cultural (has the 2 thirds divine) doesn’t have enough nature in him - Enkidu gave Gilgamesh his first important lesson in life (that people can die) - Gilgamesh decides he wants to be divine and immortal - Gilgamesh mourns Enkidu and does so excessively (leaves town, goes where there is no culture and is trying to drop out of culture and then has an idea of seeking hyper culture & get immortality - He is wearing freshly butchered animals skin to mourn and he is shown that it’s not natural to live forever but Gilgamesh finds the guy who survived the flood - Only 3 people who are alive in the underworld - Key is that you can’t fall asleep for 7 days but after hours he falls asleep and when he wakes up he realizes he is going to die and there is nothing he can do - The story teller isn’t done and mediate nature and culture - Gilgamesh comes to terms that he isn’t going to live forever so he starts to head home and deep under the water there is a herb that makes you live forever, but he fell asleep and the snake steals the gift of immortality, Gilgamesh doesn’t throw a fit and tries to get the herb back, instead he emotionally resigns himself to his own mortality and finally gets it and then returns to Uruk - Another version, he not only returns to Uruk but he is a good king and everyone loves him - Mediation of nature and culture for humanity as a whole in the figure of Gilgamesh - Enkidu begins the story as a wild man (hyper nature) but its when he has sex with the Shamhat that he starts his slide into culture (Shamhat is a temple prostitute so by having sex with Enkidu she is bringing him to Mesopotamian religion) Ritual and Demeter - Liminality links mythology to religious rituals - Eleusinian mysteries (tied to Demeter) and Thesmophoria (rituals with a lot of liminality) - Alot of rituals during their performance, a myth is related to the people who are performing it or to the people who are witnessing the ritual - In a myth, the myth will subconsciously say the myth that I’m telling you is a story of how a certain religious ritual came to be - Liminality- talks about myth making as an activity (turner calls it play with cultural factors) - Turner notices that societies around the world relate to cultural factors that are not serious (playful) and for it to be playful it means that a play is not about putting food on the table or 15 protecting society, play is what you do on the weekend (when you are using things that are normally serious and making life possible, myth making is when you just play with these things) - Tricksters are mythical creatures who are big in liminality - Turner doesn’t focus on myth, he is really focused on liminality - Gilgamesh doesn’t stand for humanity (not symbolic) he set it up - Not every myth is tied to a ritual but every ritual is tied to a myth - Liminality: 1) myth-making: “play with cultural factors”, 2) Tricksters - When he says ritual, he means religion - Myths are frequently tied to rituals and every ritual is tied to a myth - Turner says that such symbolic types are generated by a group - Myths are the markers of liminality, they don’t stand for it, they constitute it - For Demeter the Greeks have both cyclic and contingent - Cyclic- Thesmophoria festivals and Contingent- Eleusinian mysteries - Every city state had their own version of the Thesmophoria - Cult means worshiping the God - Women only festival and there was votive pigs (not real) - Location of the sanctuary was in natural not cultural area and it was a place where people assemble is a geographical centre - For the women it’s the one opportunity where the
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