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AS and A Level: Classics

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  1. Is it appropriate to describe Virgil Aeneid book four as a tragedy?

    The death of a parent is not to be taken lightly and Aeneas is distraught over his father's passing, but regardless of this all he pushes onwards, showing a sense of duty, reaching forever outwards to the goal of Rome, nudged on by the gods who champion him. His piety is unquestionable and proven again and again, this obligation to the gods, his family, and his city. Book four is the episode that encounters Dido, Queen of Carthage, who has suffered tragedy in her own forms, 'my husband was murdered and our home broken up by my brother's murderous act.'

    • Word count: 2156
  2. Commentary on a Speech by Oedipus from Oedipus Rex.

    .] to render precisely-the emotional and sensible meaning of every speech in the play" (Fitts and Fitzgerald, "Commentary" p.239). This is the first lengthy speech Oedipus has given in �xodos. Sophocles uses this opportunity to establish Oedipus's place as a tragic hero. The chorus's comment that Oedipus would be happier if he committed suicide impels Oedipus to give this speech as a strong and powerful defense of his resolve to remain alive. "Do not counsel me anymore" snaps Oedipus to the chorus assuming an authoritative tone in revelation of the assertiveness of his decision (1).

    • Word count: 2008
  3. Compare the treatment of the Gods in the Iliad and the Odyssey.

    The notion of Zeus's supreme will is also a feature of the Odyssey. This is displayed emphatically when Zeus sends Hermes, the messenger of the gold, to Calypso's island to tell her that she must release Odysseus to leave so that he can be allowed to return home. Initially, Calypso is adamantly disputes and indicts Zeus's decision. "You are hard-hearted, you gods"(V.118). She complains and condemns the double standards that Zeus applies unfairly to the female gods. Whereas male gods are allowed promiscuous behaviour and affairs, female counterparts are expected to act faithfully at all times.

    • Word count: 2346
  4. How are the figures of Telemachus, Odysseus and Athena presented in Books I to V?

    270 "stout-minded Odysseus"). As with most heroes of epic poetry, the usual character traits are highlighted in Odysseus (strength, nobility, a skill with words, cunning, etc.) yet most important of all is the theme of kleos (Greek for 'good reputation', a heroes reward for the hardships they have had to face) - "the hero's quest for immortal kleos is one of the oldest motifs of Greek epic and commonplace amongst all oral epic poetry�" - and Odysseus is no exception.

    • Word count: 2127
  5. Agamemnon - King of Mycenae and commander in chief of the coalition that attacked Troy in the Trojan War

    Aegisthus was the son of Thyestes and his daughter Pelopia. Desiring to avenge himself upon his brother Atreus and acting upon the advice of the oracle at Delphi, Thyestes consummated an incestuous union with Pelopia. Shortly afterwards, Atreus married Pelopia, not knowing she was his niece. When Aegisthus was born, Atreus accepted him as his own son. Aegisthus later learned his true identity and, urged by Thyestes, killed Atreus. Jason was the son of Aeson, a king in Greece. His half-brother Pelias had taken Aeson's throne away from him, and Jason, the rightful heir to the throne, had been sent away as a child for his own protection.

    • Word count: 2188
  6. Civilization and Savagery in The Iliad.

    By doing this, the reader feels drawn into the story and shares the horrors and futility the Greeks faced during the Trojan War. A large part of Homer's work is dedicated to war and battle scenes. The main reason for this is because many believed Greek society, which took place seven hundred years before Christ, was brutally violent. Fighting was an everyday occurrence and brought honour among the warriors. The Greek gods did not dissipate the violent society; in fact they encouraged it by demanding animal sacrifices as part of daily rituals.

    • Word count: 2017
  7. The Odyssey as a Hero Journey.

    For example, J.R.R. Tolkien's, The Hobbit, an epic fantasy adventure in which Bilbo Baggins, the connection for the reader to the fantastical world the book takes place in, is called to action and set in motion on his Hero Journey by Gandalf, a wizard. Another example of a famous myth following this archetypal framework is The Odyssey. Homer's epic story, The Odyssey, of the hero Odysseus and his son Telemakhos follows closely the cycle of Joseph Campbell's Hero Journey, as summarized by Linda Seger, both as a physical and psychological undertaking.

    • Word count: 2339
  8. Book 9 & 10 - The Odyssey.

    Odysseus and his men disembarked, to draw water and eat a quick meal. Odysseus then chose three men, to find out what humans beings lived on the island. These men soon came across the Loftus-eaters. These natives had no intention on killing these men, but instead gave them some lotus to taste. Those who ate the honeyed fruit lost any will to come back to Odysseus with any news, they wanted to stay with the Lofus-eaters and forget any thoughts of returning home. Odysseus used force to bring the men back, the men cried on the way back to the ship, and Odysseus tied them up and dragged them under the benches.

    • Word count: 2153
  9. Analysis of The Theban Plays and The Matrix

    If a statement claimed that the representation of evil in The Theban Plays and The Matrix was similar, a reader's first impression would be that this was incorrect. This is because the evil in The Theban Plays can not be clearly defined. Consider Oedipus in King Oedipus. There is no passage or sequence of events that lead us to believe that Oedipus is evil. In fact it is quite the opposite. Actions taken by Oedipus such as solving the Sphinxes riddle, swearing to avenge Laius' death and then voluntarily punishing then banishing himself when he comes to the realisation he was Laius' killer, leads us to view Oedipus as a protagonist.

    • Word count: 2015
  10. Antigone and how it relates to post-9/11 America

    "NO," they say, "We cannot be bombed, we cannot experience any kind of terrorism. It will not happen." There are also some who think that war is the only way to retaliate, and that military retaliation is the only way to solve our problem. Now, I'm no diplomat, but I know that there must be other ways to solve this problem. If we go to war against a man and a few isolated groups of terrorists, it will be a big mistake. The Taliban is violently against the United States, and will use all of their power to win, which would be easy for them in a country like Afghanistan, a country Russia in its powerful era could not beat.

    • Word count: 2026
  11. Greek Tragedy

    Each festival included 3 tragic poets to present a "tetrology."(A group of 4 plays) which consisted of 3 tragedies and one satyr.4 Each play would include anywhere from two to four actors, and an assembly of 12-15 choral members. It was each actor's responsibility to display the plot through speech, however they where also responsible for singing solos. The chorus was an important tool in Greek tragedy as they commented on each scene and proposed subtleties to the audience, their song also heightened the emotion and atmosphere of the play.5 Aristotle's "Poetics" is considered the most valuable source of guidance for Greek tragedy.

    • Word count: 2089
  12. To what extent does the evidence support the view that Roman emperors paid very little attention to the administration of the city of Rome between 31 BC-AD 96?

    In addition to this, extending the pomerium showed the people of Rome what territory they had gained and also make space for the ever-growing population of Rome. As well as extending the pomerium, Augustus also ?divided the city into districts and wards? (Suet. DA. 30). These 14 districts were further divided into 265 vici (wards) which, formed the backbone of the new organisational structure of the city. The vicomagistri, who ran the vici, were slaves and freedmen ?locally elected? (Suet.

    • Word count: 2170
  13. Overview of Ancient Greece

    The rich Cretan soil produced oil, grain and wine in abundance. The Minoan?s were not Greek and may have originally come from western Asia as early as 6000 BC. The civilization grew wealthy through trade with countries such as Egypt, Asia Minor and the Levant. The Minoans were skilled artists and craftsmen, creating beautiful objects, their architecture reaching near perfection. The Minoans also ruled the other Aegean Islands and various cities on the mainland. New buildings constantly replaced the cave dwellings of the previous age.

    • Word count: 2089

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