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GCSE: Classics

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  1. Who is the most tragic character in Euripdes' story 'Medea'?

    Medea decides to kill Jason's new wife and his father-in-law, (who is in fact the King, Creon) by sending poisonous gifts. She then also tells the chorus of her plans to kill her children for two reasons. Firstly to hurt Jason, and secondly so they would not be killed by the followers of Creon when they find out he is dead. When Jason discovers the death of, not only his new bride, but also his two sons he is inconsolably upset and looks for Medea to seek his own revenge.

    • Word count: 1920
  2. "Do you think that Euripides intended us to sympathise with Medea?"

    In the beginning of the play, our opinions of Medea are based on other people's opinions of the situation. Therefor we sympathise with whomever the people sympathise with. We hear the Nurse talking about how wronged Medea is and how horrible Jason has been to her, so we have no sympathy for Jason: " Since she first heard of Jason's wickedness." And we sympathise with Medea : " Poor Medea! ..." When we meet the Tutor he also has sympathy for Medea: " Poor women!

    • Word count: 2196
  3. Sophocles - The Theban Plays.

    This dramatic device is remarkably similar to Sohphocles' portrayals of Theseus in Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone in Antigone in order to reflect the incongruity of Creon's conduct. Towards the opening of King Oedipus, Oedipus sends for Teiresias (a blind prophet), and does so on Creon's recommendation. This shows Creon as acting according to the God's decree: 'Clearly the meaning of the god's command.' In King Oedipus, it also seems Creon appears to have respect for the Gods, 'I await instruction from the god,' whereas in Oedipus at Colonus there are noticeable changes in character when he is referred to as a 'blasphemous beast.'

    • Word count: 4545
  4. Albert Camus created Meursault as the protagonist of The Outsider in order to illustrate the condemnation of a character who refuses to lie even to save himself.

    Society sees these actions as abnormally degenerate it is announced that he has 'no place in a society whose fundamental rules [he] ignored,'1 and he is therefore condemned for his failure to conform. Meursault is sentenced to death for not believing in god, and for his failure to act depressed at his mother's funeral. Hence, Camus provides the reader with a basis that is fundamental to understanding the everlasting conflict between the individual and a society whose ultimate desire is conformity.

    • Word count: 1564
  5. Antigone presents a rather perplexing and different aspect of her character on her second encounter with Creon, which makes it even harder to determine her original motivations and her primary desires.

    Perhaps she considers these proofs of public applaud as just rewards for her sacrifice. This desire is evident from the annoyance she expresses, at being reminded of her mortal human status, when she feels herself to be at par with the Gods. This apparent conceit and arrogance is very clearly expressed in the following lines-"O you mock me! Why in the name of all my father's Gods, why can't you wait will I am gone-must you abuse me to my face?" She also rather blatantly, blames her entire family for her misfortune. She refers to the incest between her parents as "doomstruck" and calls herself "cursed" for being their "wretched child."

    • Word count: 718
  6. Divine intervention in the Odyssey.

    It happens to Odysseus just after he has been held hostage by calypso for seven years. This is a good example of revenge and relationships of the time and the need to keep honor, and the importance of the family. Hermes: Hermes is only a messenger for the gods, but nevertheless, he still plays a very important role in the unfolding of the plot. He goes to Ogygia after Odysseus has been there for seven years, and persuades Calypso to let Odysseus go, as that is the wish of the Gods; and she does this. This moves the story along, because if Calypso had not been told to let him go, he may have stayed there indefinitely, so Hermes doing this intervenes with the plot of the story.

    • Word count: 666
  7. Character Sketch on Creon in Jean Anouilh's version of Antigone - Jean anouilh's "modern" version of Antigone is an adaptation of the version written by Sophocles for the Athenian theatre.

    These contrasts in his personality make Creon a more interesting character shaping his as suspicious, confident of himself and his power, loyal to his job and practical. The most evident contrast occurs between Creon's loyalty to the state and his practical mentality. This occurs because of the quantity and quality of speeches on the duty towards the law and the state made by Creon in his effort to dissuade Antigone in contrast with his meditated actions in order to preserve his interests.

    • Word count: 1065
  8. Throughout the play 'Antigone' there is a constant emphasis on the use and abuse of power.

    Creon does not understand that there is more to good leadership than having people intimidated into respect for him. For example, when the Sentry comes to tell him of the body being buried he threatens the soldier with death even though it is quite clear that he has played no part in the crime. He is angry, abrupt and most importantly desperately striving to be a strong leader. I feel that he confuses being a good leader with being a strong leader, he feels that if you are one then you are automatically the other.

    • Word count: 3537
  9. "Jason is detestable - and uncomfortably like us. By contrast Medea, except that she is intensely a person in her own right, might be called Eros (love) incarnate, and because Love and Hate are closely allied, she has become Hate incarnate"

    In Medea's mind, what she does is not in the slightest bit immoral, but a just retaliation for a broken heart. Granted, the way in which she brings about this payback is hardly conceivable to a sane human mind, and not what one expects others to do, but on an emotional and moral scale, the fact that she destroys Jason's whole world in retaliation is understandable; to a passionate woman like Medea, love is an extremely powerful feeling, and Jason in a sense was her world and her whole life.

    • Word count: 2116
  10. What Is The Play Antigone About?

    We see Creon acting very proud when his son Heamon tries to offer him friendly advice, and Creon gets angry, insultive and rejects his advice out of stubbornness, pride and an uncompromising attachment to a set of virtues, Creon's love of authority and pride leads him to an unthinking hatred for any perceived threat to his rules and orders, even if this means he turns on his own son. We also see an old Prophet Teiresias offering his prophecies to Creon, even though the prophet has never been wrong, creon cannot back down because he has so much pride and faith in his own sense of order that he cannot imagine the gods' will being different from his own.

    • Word count: 1504
  11. Imagine you are a plebeian and write a newspaper account of the eruption in AD79

    By the end of the following day, few were dead but many were left homeless. I had lost my home, covered in ash and solidified mud along with the flourishing Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The eruption was unexpected even though there had been small shudders. I had no water as our water supplies had dried up. It was thought that the hot summer had caused the water sauces to disappear. I thought that the Gods must have been filled with so much anger to cause such damage to our towns, killing our people with the eruption of the volcano.

    • Word count: 806
  12. Are Meursault in Camus' The Outsider and Antigone in Anouilh's Antigone both victims of society and also free agents who choose their own fate?

    Camus' choice of Meursault, an unusual person, who does not 'play the game', enables him to demonstrate this argument. Meursault's first words are 'Mother died today.' He is very quiet and detached and likes to observe events around him like a spectator, regardless of their importance to him. At his mother's funeral, he does not cry, he smokes and drinks coffee, and this turns out to be the reason for his execution. It may appear that the fact that Meursault is killed because of the way he acts at his mother's funeral is a sign of hubris, much like Creon's in Antigone, who does not respect Polynices' death properly.

    • Word count: 1565
  13. The Use of the Nurse in Jean Anouilhs' Antigone and Dr.Rank in Henrik Ibsens' A Dolls' House to Provide Exposition.

    The Nurse, speaking endearingly of her trustees, provides a large amount of background information within two pages, mostly because of Anouilh's descriptive, informative writing style. Due the effusive attitude of the Nurse, and given the situation in hand, she divulges information about the girl's dead mother, their childhood, and the girl's current living relations, saying: Yes says she! God save us! I took her when she wasn't that high. I promised her poor mother I'd make a lady out of her.

    • Word count: 1516
  14. Okonkwo's oldest son, Nwoye, yearns for his father's love and compassion and is deprived of the unconditional love a father should provide for his son, but is not provided because it would be perceived as weakness and therefore not manly.

    He did not understand it. It was the poetry of the new religion, something felt in the marrow. The hymn about brothers who sat in darkness and in fear seemed to answer a vague and persistent question that haunted his young soul-the question of the twins crying in the bush and the question of Ilkemefuna who was killed. He felt a relief within as the hymn poured into his parched soul"(147). Finally, Nwoye seems to have found peace in leaving his father and insensitive religion. Okonkwo is driven by his father's legacy of shame and has no use for unsuccessful men.

    • Word count: 1263
  15. Antigone Essay

    During the entire story the two characters have obvious opposing views and personalities. Ismene is discerned as rational, cautious, and dutiful, while Antigone is conveyed as intractable, brave, and disobedient. Another example of the discrepancy between the characters is the way that they are physically represented. Sophocles generated Ismene with a very feminine look. She is depicted as having blonde hair, being full bodied, and eye-catching. However, Antigone is portrayed as gaunt, washed out, and unattractive. With such antagonism between the sisters, Sophocles presents drama by developing another form of rivalry and another reason for Antigone to rebel against the law.

    • Word count: 1354
  16. The Odyssey by Homer - The Ramayana by Valmiki - Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

    Odysseus shows how brave he is when he goes off to fight in the Trojan War. He must also remain brave through his long journey home where he's thrown off course many times and ends up losing his crew to monsters and other misfortunes. Along his journey home he encounters many different situations in which he uses his clever thinking to get himself and as much of his crew as he can to safety. He is also a very proud leader and always makes the best decisions to help the crew get home safely. Although he knows that only he will makes it home he still remains proud and keeps his spirits up to keep his crew focused.

    • Word count: 1110
  17. 'Aeneas is little more than a puppet controlled by the actions of the gods.' Is this a fair assessment of Aeneas in books 1, 2, 4 and 6 of Virgil's Aeneid?

    It is important to realise that Fate is a greater power than Gods and Goddesses. The will of Jupiter is not Fate. Jupiter is simply the arbiter: he makes sure that Fate happens. Fate can only decide, for example, the start and the end of men and cities; it does not decide the 'path' taken to reach the end, but the end is always reached i.e. Fate is always completed. Gods cannot interfere with Fate (they cannot change destiny). However, Gods can intervene with Fate by changing the direction of the 'path'. A typical example of divine intervention is during the Greek siege of Troy.

    • Word count: 1649
  18. To what extent would you agree with the idea that Chinua Achebe presents Okonkwo as a tragic hero caught up in the clash between two different viewws of the world?

    In the society of Umuofia, Okonkwo was considered one of the greatest men. 'That was one of the greatest men in Umuofia' During the twenty years up until the time in which the book was set, he had gained many titles within the clan and was one of the most respected men. Okonkwo was also one of the egwugwu, one of the highest and most revered positions within the clan. 'Okonkwo's wives might have noticed that the second egwugwu had the spring step of Okonkwo' All this Okonkwo had achieved within twenty years, he was ashamed of his father and strove hard so as to not eventually become like him.

    • Word count: 3469
  19. Jean Anouilh ends his play Antigone differently than the "original" Antigone which was written by Sophocles.

    Ultimately, the death of the protagonist at the end of the play is the answer: Do not defy the gods' law. Sophocles' play asks several questions regarding the superiority of man's law to gods' law; in addition, the play raises the issue of civil disobedience and the role of the individual versus his/her society. All three of these themes help determine the outcome for the characters in Sophocles' Antigone. The first theme, the theme of civil disobedience, is demonstrated by Antigone's determination to break Creon's law.

    • Word count: 1132
  20. Feminism in Antigone and Medea

    She is constantly dominating her situation, using her cleverness and getting exactly what she wants. One example of this is when she says to Creon: "Allow me to remain here just for this one day, so I may consider where to live in my exile." Thus she persuades him, by playing on his emotions and weaknesses, to let her stay in the country long enough to carry out her plans, although Creon hates her and wants her out of the country as soon as possible.

    • Word count: 1365
  21. Looking at the similarities and context of the plays; The Crucible, St. Joan and Antigone

    Antigone is the daughter of the late king Oedipus, her brothers Polymices and Eteocles decided to go to war with each other over who should be the next king, but both were killed. Antigone's uncle Creon, therefore, became king, but Antigone was not happy as her brother Polymices was blamed and so was not given a proper burial. She buries him herself, although knowing that Creon will have to kill her due to the law. The third and final play is St.

    • Word count: 995
  22. Is Okonkwo a tragic hero deserving of our sympathy or a violent, inflexible bully?

    In addition to exhibiting these characteristics, a tragic hero must sacrifice something of his own. This sacrifice can be anything from the loss of one's pride to the loss of one's life. Although Okonkwo's journey was tragic, he does not fit the tragic hero stereotype. Okonkwo lived his entire life trying to outgrow his father's shadow. All his motives behind every action were somehow related to his obsession to take a different path than his father (When Unoka died he had taken no title at all and he was heavily in debt. Any wonder then that his son Okonkwo was ashamed of him?.pg 7).

    • Word count: 769
  23. Show by what stages Medea's plan for revenge develops.

    When we first meet Medea, she isn't like anything that the nurse has been describing but is cool, calm and collective. This soon changes as she reveals what she has been contemplating; when she meets her boys she laments as to how they remind her of the grief and suffering that Jason has caused her, "children...death take you, with your father". This makes the reader wonder if she has any plans in store for her sons, but it seems to be a form of curse rather than full-on pledge.

    • Word count: 1154
  24. Show by what stages Medea's plans for revenge unfold

    However baring this in mind we soon realise that the nurse is actually wrong because when we first see Medea she is nothing like the nurse had implied. She comes on as someone who isn't really greatly affected by her crisis, and is happy to carry on with things normally. But again there is another twist in the play because we hear her say "Death take you, with your father. And perish his whole house!" this however at the moment seems to be an empty threat rather than a meaningful threat.

    • Word count: 890
  25. Is Medea Repellent?

    - Some would argue that the appeal of revenge is what makes Medea so popular. Because, while no one has ever felt such a strong sense of rage and a such a need for the extreme types of revenge that Medea turns to we can all sympathise with her at least to a small degree. - It is her willingness to sacrifice things dearest to her for that one perfect revenge on Jason. - Murder of Children - One could say that the murder of the children ( possibly one of the acts that makes us question her and turns the readers opinion of her around)

    • Word count: 986

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