Thursday, January 29, 2009

BC: Alcestis to Oedipus Rex

10-second Literature Reviews

438 BC. Alcestis. Euripides. Greek. Play. Alcestis, wife of Admetus, agrees to replace him in death after no one else will. Drunk, comic Heracles rescues her from Hades. Implies question about Athens’ attitude toward women.

431 BC. Medea. Euripides. Greek. Play. One of the most complex heroine/villainesses in dramatic literature. Changes from a woman overwhelmed with sorrow to a woman dominated by the fury of revenge against Jason who has deserted her. As her ultimate revenge, she icily kills their two children on whom Jason dotes.

430 BC. The History. Herodotus. Greek. First use of the word “history.” History of the Persian Wars. Largely anecdotal. Less emphasis on historical accuracy.

430/400 BC? History of the Peloponnesean War. Thucydides. Greek. Athens vs. Sparta. Not as colorful as Herodotus but historically more accurate.

429 BC. Oedipus Rex. Sophocles. Greek. Play. Relentlessly, Oedipus seeks the murderer of his father, Laius. Learns that he is guilty. Further, he has unknowingly married his mother. She commits suicide. He blinds himself with her brooch.

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