Dates and Contact Information

Contact Ms. Sasso at or
Tutorials: Block 4 Every Day. Saturday 9:30 - 11:30.
BOOK RETURNS: Returned books must have your name in them or you will be charged.

Homework Due Dates:
Feb 12: Lysistrata posters due
Candide assignment due before Feb. break.
Feb 12: Answer questions and define terms on Leda and the Swan
Feb 16: Iphigeneia at Aulis full essay due
Feb 16: Poetry Essay MP3 (See email for poems.)

Over the break, read Beowulf and Frankenstein. Begin to read Pride and Prejudice. Handouts will be provided.

The Resonating Power of Greek Tragedy

Watch Crucible of Civilization, a PBS documentary about the rise of ancient Greece.

Greek Tragedy has the power to restore humanity when humanity itself lurches towards catastrophe.

In the linked excerpt from his newly-published book, The Theater of War, Bryan Doerries explains why plays such as Sophocles' Ajax, about a soldier suffering from PTSD, still resonate today. He also connects the plays to the end-of-life experiences of his twenty-two-year-old girlfriend. The message of these timeless works resonates importantly for all of us bound by our own mortality. Their characters model dignity and valor for us in our suffering.

In the following linked article, an oncologist explains how the play Oedipus at Colonus led her to understanding why it meant more for a terminally-ill patient to leave the hospital for a night than to say there, bound by dying. (Check out also Roger Cohen's article that references Dylan Thomas' poem, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.) The play's complex theme of what it means to forgive and what constitutes justice are always questions in society. Amber Rose Carlson discusses this eloquently in a column that questions what exactly would be a "rational" punishment for her rapist. 

In another example, a performance of Oedipus Rex at the maximum-security prison Sing Sing proves transforming for inmates whose crimes weigh down their lives.

Another doctor describes why the play Philotetes resonates for veterans and anyone suffering from disfiguring wounds.

Ancient Greek comedy also retains universal meaning -- Aristophanes' antiwar play Lysistrata was performed last year at UCONN. Colombian women's active take on the play resulted in a sex strike to stop gang violence, and in 2003, there was a global performance of Lysistrata to protest the US invasion of Iraq. (Check out the trailer to Spike Lee's Chiraq, a modern version of the play.) See the following article on silencing women's voices in ancient Greece.

While we are still fallible, while we are still human, and while we still strive for the power and the light of the divine -- these plays will always have resonance for us.

Read about the Peloponnesian War, Pericles and Thucydides -- and read Pericles' Funeral Oration. It is humbling for all who believe that the United States can never fail because of our morally superior government, and for those who would justify U.S. hegemony because of it.

See also: "Denial Makes the World Go Round" and "For Delphic Oracle, Fumes and Visions." Also worth viewing is 1995 film Dead Man Walking, relating to themes of overcoming trauma and unthinkable suffering.

And, check out the following article about a recently discovered grave of a Greek warrior who died as Minoan culture yielded to Mycenaean, that of the heroes who fought at Troy, after which the Greek civilization would face a Dark Age. This is significant in considering Euripides's play Iphigeneia at Aulis, written during the Peloponnesian Wars when Greek culture was facing its final threat.