LITERATURE 102, Introduction to Classical Literature
Topics for PAPER 1
load it up through blackboard – turnitin
- Choose one of the following topics.
- Collect arguments in favor of your position AND in favor of the opposite thesis from the source-text .
- Write a 900-1000 words paper.
- It needs to contain a clearly stated and supported argument, including a counter-argument and its refutation.
Introduction to Classical Literature Topics
- Medea: Seneca’s version of Medea deprives/adds an essential element from/to the older Greek version (Euripides’ Medea).Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.3
- Medea: Is there a logic behind Medea’s actions? And what is the rationale behind Jason’s actions? Compare Seneca’s and Euripides’ plays. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Medea/Oedipus:in how far does his drama (choose either Medea or Oedipus) reflect Seneca’s stoic philosophy? Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Medea:To what extent is Medea motivated to her actions by considerations about her social status (before and after the divorce)? Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Medea: Compare the Medea in Ovid’s letter to Jason (BB) with the Medea in Euripides’ play. Make a claim about what Ovid’s and Euripides view of women. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Oedipus: Discuss the topic of seeing and blindness in the play.
- Oedipus: what exactly is the cause of Oedipus’ horrific fate and/or what is the morale of this story? Is his own hybris the cause of his downfall? Is it the gods, who want to demonstrate something by the example of Oedipus? Make a claim and corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Plautus:As soon as Menaechmus II has come to Epidamnus, he forgets why he has actually come there. The narrator announces this strange affair in his introduction. Of course, our play is a comedy and therefore strange things can happen. But does it harm the play? Do you see other inconsistencies? Suggest modifications in the plot with which Plautus could have lent more plausibility to the play. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:Dido and Aeneas: Argue that not only within Virgil’s narrative but also for the Roman audience of Virgil, Aeneas did the right thing to cancel his relationship with Dido. In other words: why is Dido’s behavior problematic for a Roman? Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:Virgil’s Aeneid as Augustan propaganda. Show that Virgil’s audience could interpret the Aeneid as propaganda for emperor Augustus. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:Virgil’s characterization of Aeneas. Show the tension between Aeneas’ sense of duty and his desires. How do Aeneas’s piety and sense of duty change as the poem unfolds? In how far is Aeneas behaving like any human being, in how far does he bear the traits of a divine hero? Use: Virgil’s Aeneid – concentrate on 1 book, e.g. book I or IV Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:Reincarnation? Argue for or against the thesis that Virgil’s religious and philosophical convictions implied a belief in reincarnation, as can be taken from bk 6 of the Aeneid. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:Virgil’s Aeneid, bk 2: contrast the behaviors and characterizations of the Trojans (i.e. Romans) with the Greeks. How does Virgil give account of the question why, if the Trojan mirror the Romans, the Trojans let their city be taken. What is the Roman audience to make of this defeat of their ‘original’ city? Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:The role of madness/fury in Virgil. Why does madness and fury play such an important role in Virgil’s Aeneid? Think of Juno, Dido, Allecto and Turnus. Formulate a thesis and corroborate it with proof in the text. Focus your argument on 1 character. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:Compare Virgil’s scene of Aeneas’ descent into the underworld with Homer’s ‘original’ version (Aeneid VI and Odyssey XI). What changes in depictions do you see and what does that tell you about possible transformations in religion in culture from the Greek world anno 700 BCE to the Roman world in the first century BCE? Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:DEFEND or ATTACK: Dido is responsible for her own misfortune. She is too emotional, and lacks self-control; her death, though regrettable, is a warning against the dangers of excessive passion. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:DEFEND or ATTACK: Vergil’s depiction of Aeneas’ mission as incompatible with personal happiness for him and personal happiness (and perhaps life) for Dido implies criticism of the values of Augustan Rome. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:DEFEND or ATTACK: Aeneas’ actions in Book 4 are a model for men of his time to serve the state (or the community) rather than personal goals. Aeneas’ departure from Dido is his greatest act of heroism, or pietas. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:DEFEND or ATTACK: Vergil sees women as victims and views them and other powerless or defeated characters with a sympathy that outweighs his admiration for the strong and powerful. Refer in your claim to at least Dido plus either Camilla or Juturna. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
- Virgil:DEFEND or ATTACK: Both the unhappy end of the love affair between Dido and Aeneas and the violent end of book 12 of the Aeneid prove that Virgil has a pessimistic view of human kind. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
As well as thinking literally about blindness in Oedipus (Teiresias, in particular) consider the relationship between knowledge and sight. Does Oedipus have any insight into things – can he, perhaps, see better without his eyes? Compare Seneca and Sophocles. Corroborate your claims with references to the text in footnotes.
Introduction to Classical Literature Grading rubric
Introduction and thesis(10%).
Introduction is lively and thoughtful and makes clear why the reader should be interested in the question.
Essay is consistent in its organizational structure. Paragraphs flow evenly with well-crafted transitions. The essay leads from the introduction through the body to the conclusion in logical sequence. It does not contain redundancies.
- Paragraphs support the thesis
- Structure is clear, logical and easy to follow.
- There is clearly an thesis with supporting evidence AND a counterthesis that is refuted
- essay uses arguments from secundary literature in a meaningful way
- Clear and smooth transitions connect sentences and paragraphs
- Conclusion flows from body without redundancies
Strength, style and clarity of writing (30%)
Essay has sound sentence structure that is readable and clear on its meaning. The author’s words are clearly distinguishablefrom those of outside quoted or paraphrased sources. The essay uses examples to illustrate its message. Essay is written in the third person voice (they, it). It contains no shifts to second person voice (you). The use of first person voice is limited to brief sections of the author’s reflection or inclusion of a personal story that could not reasonably be told in third person voice.Writing style is formal and free of slang. Direct quotes do not stand alone but appear in context and are identified with the speaker.
- Clear distinction between author and source writing
- Ample use of examples
- Written in third person
- Formal writing, free of slang, contractions and abbreviations
Strength of the argument (30%)
You have to give solid arguments on the basis of the source-text. A strong arguments is that one that takes the counter-argument(s) into account and refutes them.
Use of sources (10%)
Direct quotes are limited to a few words or briefphrases that support the thesis rather than pad the essay. Longer quotes have an obvious purpose. Outside references (secondary literature as found in the database JSTOR, e.g.), including direct quotes, paraphrases and the explanation of ideas, are properly and fully documented with in-text citations (“….”) and footnotes (follow the Chicago style or the MLA style). Direct quotes do not stand alone as orphans but are introduced in the text by identifying the author or situation.
- Direct quotes are properly cited and error-free
- The source of the quote must be shown in the footnote (for quotation-style, see “how to write a paper”)
- A separate Works Cited page follows the body.
- Quotes are brief, not intended just to fill out the paper
- Quotes effectively support the thesis and the author’s purpose in using them
Spelling, punctuation and grammar are correct. Essay is free of comma splices, run-ons, fragments, abbreviations and contractions. See the booklet “Common Mistakes”.
All text is double-spaced and in 12 point Times New Roman.
No extra line spacing exists between headings or paragraphs (“Before” and “After” in Paragraph settings are zero).
All four margins are 1 inch.
pages must be numbered
Student information appears in upper left in this style:
Student last name