Nov 15, 2021 Uncategorized

Comparing of Antigone from Sophocles and Medea from Euripides

Instructions

Please look at the attached version of the prompt.

3.1 Man-counselling Heart

“Oh, she’s a woman all right, a woman with man’s heart.” γυναικὸς ἀνδρόβουλον ἐλπίζον κέαρ –Watchman, Aeschylus., Ag. 11

Antigone, Medea

Among the eloquent and strong-willed women of tragedy, the good sister Antigone and bad mother Medea stand at a polar remove as role models. However, cursed families and foreign sorcery may not be the place to look for feminine role models (for that, try the exemplary wives Alcestis and Andromache). In asserting righteous claims, both Antigone and Medea bring down dynasties. By the end, they rack up similar body counts. Both face down male bullies fearlessly but, in private moments, are racked with doubt. Knowing that Medea is a bundle of contradictions, do we do justice to Antigone as a character by assuming that she isn’tcomparably self-contradictory?

Prompt: Compare Antigone and Medea on the question of whether or how, in resisting bullying by males, female characters must take on male characteristics and methods in order to assert their own gendered priorities.

Various angles can open up the question: How is each “unnatural? How does standing outside the gender system allow greater clarity? How is female emotion perceived (by the characters or playwright) as madness? How does female sexual desire figure in the different ways Antigone and Medea are perceived in the plays or in the calculus of the “natural” and “unnatural”?

To minimize confusion, avoid calling Antigone and Medea “women” or Jason and Creon “men” (that is, please use “female characters” and “male characters”). Please try to keep modern gender assumptions at bay as best you can. Try to get the two cases to illuminate one another rather than remaining separate and parallel discussions.

MUST INCLUDE:

Citation: Again cite rather than extensively quote the texts and do not summarize plot. Cite Sophocles by line numbers, and Euripides and Aristophanes by page number.

Organization: Make sure that I have a sense of plan as well as of your thesis (see above under “Summary”). Ask yourself with every paragraph: What work is this paragraph doing to advance the argument? Also make sure that a substantial comparison develops. That is, avoid the trap of discussing the topic in Text A and then the topic in Text B without closely cross- referring and comparing the two texts, or doing so only in the conclusion.

Tense: Please use the present tense to refer to the events in both texts, even though Thucydides refers to historical events.

Title: Go wild! Give me a title beyond “Essay 1.” The title does not have to be witty or profound, but let it at least be a signpost. You’re picking a focus; tell me what it is.

A strong introduction and a strong conclusion. Again, don’t just summarize points, make sure it connects to the rest of your essay. 

Tricky Terminology
Everything that happens in dramas is, in one sense, “dramatic.” Please use “dramatic” in the sense of “having to do with staging,” “theatrical,” “having to do with play-composition rather than epic or novelistic technique.” Avoid the sense of “OMG! Totally intense!!For reference to comedies and how they are composed and staged, please use “comedic” and leave “comic” to refer to “funny ha ha.”
For reference to tragedies and how they are composed and staged, please use the now somewhat obsolete terms “tragical” and don’t use “tragic” at all, because in common usage it is terminally confused with “sooooo sad,” “seriously harsh,” “nobly awful,” “human- condition dreadful.” “Tragical” is awkward, but you can always use “of tragedies.”
These plays sometimes engage with prophecy and the workings of (destiny, portion, lot, fate). Keep in mind, that what is being staged is how characters deal with prophecy or the fickle finger of fate. As I explain in class, “fatal flaw” or “tragic flaw” are modern mistranslations of Aristotle. There is a good explanation in E. R. Dodds’ essay “On Misunderstanding Oedipus the King” (on Moodle).

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Please use the exact books listed below for the readings so that the citation pages and quotes( if you are going to include quotes) match up. You do not need to read the whole book. 

You only need to read Antigone from Sophoclesi and Medea from euripides

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