Dates and Contact Information

Contact Ms. Sasso at abasso@snet.net or absasso@gmail.com.
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 Reminders: Annotations with Introduction Paragraphs for: Facing It, Bereft, To Autumn, and Anthem for Doomed Youth due on 10/12.

Choose one of these poems. Write an essay on how the poet magnifies the poem's meaning through use of stylistic and poetic devices. 10/16

Read: Oedipus at Colonus and Iphigeneia at Aulis. We will begin to discuss these in about two weeks.

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.)

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.) 

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.

Worth reading also is 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.