European Classical Literature
BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment Jan 2022
1 (i) Mimesis
Ans. Mimesis Ancient Greek: is a term used in literary criticism and philosophy that carries a wide range of meanings, including imitatio, imitation, nonsensuous similarity, receptivity, representation, mimicry, the act of expression, the act of resembling, and the presentation of the self.
The original Ancient Greek term mīmēsis (uiunots) derives from mimeisthai (peto al, ‘to imitate’), itself coming from mimos (uïuos, ‘imitator, actor’).
In ancient Greece, mīmēsis was an idea that governed the creation of works of art, in particular, with correspondence to the physical world understood as a model for beauty, truth, and the good.
Plato contrasted mimesis, or imitation, with diegesis, or narrative. After Plato, the meaning of mimesis eventually shifted toward a specifically literary function in ancient Greek society.
One of the best-known modern studies of mimesis-understood in literature as a form of realism-is Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, which opens with a comparison between the way the world is represented in Homer’s Odyssey and the way it appears in the Bible.
In addition to Plato and Auerbach, mimesis has been theorised by thinkers as diverse as Aristotle, Philip Sidney, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Adam Smith, Gabriel Tarde, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Paul Ricoeur, Luce Irigaray, Jacques Derrida, René Girard, Nikolas Kompridis, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Michael Taussig, Merlin Donald, and Homi Bhabha.
Both Plato and Aristotle saw in mimesis the representation of nature, including human nature, as reflected in the dramas of the period. Plato wrote about mimesis in both lon and The Republic (Books II, III, and X). BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
In lon, he states that poetry is the art of divine madness, or inspiration. Because the poet is subject to this divine madness, instead of possessing ‘art’ or ‘knowledge’ (techne) of the
subject, the poet does not speak truth (as characterized by Plato’s account of the Forms).
As Plato has it, truth is the concern of the philosopher. As culture in those days did not consist in the solitary reading of books, but in the listening to performances, the recitals of orators (and poets),
or the acting out by classical actors of tragedy, Plato maintained in his critique that theatre was not sufficient in conveying the truth. He was concerned that actors or orators were thus able to persuade an audience by rhetoric rather than by telling the truth.
In Book II of The Republic, Plato describes Socrates’ dialogue with his pupils.
Socrates warns we should not seriously regard poetry as being capable of attaining the truth and that we who listen to poetry should be on our guard against its seductions, since the poet has no place in our idea of God.
Developing upon this in Book X, Plato told of Socrates’ metaphor of the three beds: one bed exists as an idea made by God (the Platonic ideal, or form); one is made by the carpenter, in imitation of God’s idea; and one is made by the artist in imitation of the carpenter’s.
So the artist’s bed is twice removed from the truth. Those who copy only touch on a small part of things as they really are, where a bed may appear differently from various points of view, looked at obliquely or directly, or differently again in a mirror.
So painters or poets, though they may paint or describe a carpenter, or any other maker of things, know nothing of the carpenter’s (the craftsman’s) art, and though the better painters or poets they are, BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
the more faithfully their works of art will resemble the reality of the carpenter making a bed, nonetheless the imitators will still not attain the truth (of God’s creation).
The poets, beginning with Homer, far from improving and educating humanity, do not possess the knowledge of craftsmen and are mere imitators who copy again and again images of virtue and rhapsodise about them, but never reach the truth in the way the superior philosophers do.
(ii) Fescennine Verse
Ans. Fescennine verse, Latin Fescennini versus, also called carmina Fescennina, early native Italian jocular dialogue in Latin verse. At vintage and harvest, and probably at other rustic festivals, these were sung by masked dancers.
They were similar to ribald wedding songs and to the obscene carmina triumphalia sung to victorious generals during their triumph, or victory parade.
It is clear from the literary imitations by Catullus (84-54 BC), that they were very free, even obscene, in language. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Horace (65-8 BC) states that they became so abusive that a law that forbade a malum carmen (“evil song”-i.e., charm intended to hurt) was invoked against them.
It was believed that the verses averted the evil eye; hence, some ancient scholarship connected the name with fascinum (an emblem of a phallus that was worn to drive away evil spirits).
Linguists reject this interpretation. The true derivation, which is also ancient, may be from Fescennia, an Etruscan city.
In their origin they may have had a magico-religious intent-abuse, buffoonery, and obscenity being well-known fertility or luck charms.
Whether they developed into the dramatic satura (medley, or hodgepodge) that was the forerunner of Roman drama, as Horace suggests, has been debated by modern scholars.
Q 2. Reference to the Context in about 200 words each:
(i) “… as he yelled out, ‘Look at me motherl’Agave stared at him, uttered a wild shriek, violently shaking her neck and tossing her hair; then twisted his head right off. Displaying it high in her blood-drenched fingers, she shouted, ‘Joy, my companions! Victory is ours!’
Ans. Ovid, is one of Rome’s greatest poets, and he actually predicted that his fame would live on forever.
He wrote this about himself – … nec tame nut testes mos est audire poetas (… nor is the custom to listen to poets as if they were court room witnesses)
(And, so far, his predictions have proven correct as we see how even today we as students of the English Honours class are studying Ovid.
In the next section, we will study Ovid’s life and works in a bit more detailed manner.
Ovid is most known for the Metamorphoses, a single poem of fifteen books, which was probably completed around 8 AD. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
By writing the Metamorphoses in the dactylic hexameter, the meter of the epic, Ovid intentionally invited comparisons with the greatest Roman poet of his age, Virgil, who had written the epic the Aeneid.
In form, rhythm, and size, the Metamorphoses fits squarely in the category of the epic.
In content, however, the Metamorphoses has little in common with epics such as the Aeneid, which are characterised by a single story line and one main protagonist. In fact, Ovid explicitly pokes fun at the epic genre.
The Metamorphoses does not contain a single story, instead it has numerous little stories in it but all the stories have something or the other to do with transformation/metamorphosis. It has a sense of modernity.
The Metamorphoses more closely resembles the work of Hesiod and the Alexandrian poets, who favored a collection of independent stories connected by a theme.
The Metamorphoses’ contains roughly 250 stories in 12,000 lines and 15 Books linked together only by their common theme of metamorphosis or transformation.
Let us take a quick look at Ovid’s Metamorphoses and see how it adheres to or differs from the traditional epic in the next section.BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Ovid is at once a major Augustan poet and the first in the line of post Augustan, early imperial, writers. Master of the art of deceptive transitions,
he would no doubt have enjoyed the embarrassment of literary historians who tried to pin him down within a neat scheme of periods.
He might also have derived an ironic satisfaction from the thought that his own downfall would be taken as the epoch of an age of literary decline.
Yet it is hard to believe that he would have agreed that writers like Seneca, Lucan, Statius, and Martial were the products of a decadent age, rather than rivals of his own poetic intelligence. We shall examine
(ii) “…what’s more, it is the proper thing – if you say, You, … forced the blameless girl when you had drunk too much”.
Ans. Drunk Girl” is a song recorded by American country music singer Chris Janson. Written by him along with Tom Douglas and Scooter Carusoe, it is the second single from his album Everybody.
The song is about men showing respect to women, with a particular focus on a young woman who has become intoxicated. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Tom Douglas presented Janson and Carusoe with the idea of the song, which is a piano ballad with a central theme of treating females with respect.
Specifically, the song tells of taking a woman home to her house after she has had too much to drink, in order to keep her safe.
Janson said that the inspiration behind the song came from him seeing news stories of victimized women.
He told Rolling Stone Country, “It’s teaching the younger generation of men that this is probably the better way to treat a girl… instead of let’s get drunk and hook up.’
It’s written from a man’s perspective, and from a father’s perspective. If my daughters were in that situation, I hope someone would treat them with that respect.”
He also said that since he and the other two writers are fathers, they chose to apply a “father’s perspective”; he also noted that the song received emotional responses from fans in concert before it had even been released as a single,
saying that such a reaction “almost means more to me than getting played on the air”. Originally, Janson wanted Tim McGraw to record the song, but chose to keep it to himself after his wife, Kelly, persuaded him.
The song is in the key of C major with an approximate tempo of 100 beats per minute. It follows the chord pattern C-G/B-Am7-F. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Jeff Venable directed the song’s music video, which was filmed along Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.
To film the video, Venable got permission from the city to shut down the street and all businesses on it, leaving an empty streetscape on which Janson performs the song from behind a baby grand piano.
In between the shots, the video tells a story of a young intoxicated woman leaving a bar, along with flashbacks of her witnessing abuse as a child, and being victimized as a student.
The video is preceded by a content warning stating that its “content addresses sensitive topics that might be upsetting to some audiences”. Janson said that he cried when he saw the video for the first time.
Q 1. Examine Achilles as a warrior hero.
Ans. Achilles, in Greek mythology, son of the mortal Peleus, king of the Myrmidons, and the Nereid, or sea nymph, Thetis. Achilles was the bravest, handsomest, and greatest warrior of the army of Agamemnon in the Trojan War.
According to Homer, Achilles was brought up by his mother at Phthia with his inseparable companion Patroclus. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Later non-Homeric tales suggest that Patroclus was Achilles’ kinsman or lover.
Another non-Homeric episode relates that Thetis dipped Achilles as a child in the waters of the River Styx, by which means he became invulnerable, except for the part of his heel by which she held him—the proverbial “Achilles’ heel.”
The later mythographers related that Peleus, having received an oracle that his son would die fighting at Troy, sent Achilles to the court of Lycomedes on Scyros,
where he was dressed as a girl and kept among the king’s daughters (one of whom, Deïdamia, bore him Neoptolemus).
Hearing from the soothsayer Calchas that Troy could not be taken without Achilles, the Greeks searched for and found him.
During the first nine years of the war, Achilles ravaged the country around Troy and took 12 cities. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
In the 10th year a quarrel with Agamemnon occurred when Achilles insisted that Agamemnon restore Chryseis, his prize of war, to her father, a priest of Apollo,
so as to appease the wrath of Apollo, who had decimated the camp with a pestilence.
An irate Agamemnon recouped his loss by depriving Achilles of his favourite slave, Briseis. Achilles refused further service, and consequently the Greeks floundered so badly that at last
Achilles allowed Patroclus to impersonate him, lending him his chariot and armour.
Hector (the eldest son of King Priam of Troy) slew Patroclus, and Achilles, having finally reconciled with Agamemnon, obtained new armour from the god Hephaestus and slew Hector.
After dragging Hector’s body behind his chariot, Achilles gave it to Priam at his earnest entreaty. The Iliad concludes with the funeral rites of Hector.
It makes no mention of the death of Achilles, though the Odyssey mentions his funeral.
The poet Arctinus in his Aethiopis took up the story of the Iliad and related that Achilles, having slain the Ethiopian king Memnon and the Amazon Penthesilea, was himself slain in battle by Priam’s son Paris, whose arrow was guided by Apollo.
Q 2. Analyse the unity of time in Oedipus Rex?
Ans. There are three such unities: the unity of time, the unity of place, and the unity of action. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
The unity of time means that everything takes place within a space of twenty-four hours or fewer.
From the time that Oedipus greets the priest and suppliants who have come with prayerful offerings to the palace of Thebes to the time Oedipus learns the truth about his own parentage, blinds himself, and is exiled, everything takes place within this limited time frame.
The unity of place means that there is just one setting for the entire text. In this case, it is the steps outside the palace.
Here, Oedipus greets the suppliants, receives news from the oracle, and so on. Note that Oedipus does not go to the oracle himself but sends Creon.
Oedipus has Tiresias, the blind prophet, brought here to him for questioning. No time is lost in travel, and no distractions are created by having the main character traverse these distances. Of course, some events-especially the violent ones
Q 3. What are the implications of the marriage proposal in Pot of Gold?
ans. Such a union would ensure both the welfare of the society and the stability of the marriage. That is why he chooses to marry Phaedra.
However, it is obvious that in planning to marry the young and pious girl, he seeks his own advantage, and his philosophizing about the mores and traditions may be intended only to cover his lust. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
But Phaedra has been seduced by his nephew, Lyconides, and is about to give birth to a baby.
Evidently, the light-minded nephew has not planned to marry her (at least, we do not know about his earlier feelings or intentions).
He explains his action by the god’s prompting, but once his uncle learns of the misdeed and is persuaded to cancel his plans, Lyconides is ready to take her as wife.
As he discusses this with her father, Euclio, he refers to a Roman law, according to which, when a male has seduced a freeborn female, he is obligated either to marry her or to repay her in proportion with her social status. Lyconides chooses to do the former.
As for Euclio, he is completely bound by his compulsive avarice. The miser does not really care about his daughter. He does not even notice that she is pregnant.
He has found a pot of gold, and he is afraid that Megadorus wants to marry his daughter in order to take possession of the treasure.
When Megadorus first proposes to marry Phaedra, he consents but warns him that he is not going to give him any dowry because he is poor.
Euclio fears that once he becomes a relative of the rich, he will lose his social status. He will lose touch with his current associates but at the same time will fail to join the higher society.
So his conception of marriage is also conditioned by his social bias and personal prejudice.
Plautus’s comedy did not survive in full, but based on some extant texts, we can conclude that the resolution of its conflicts is a happy one.
Plautus shows that all of the three main characters’s views of marriage are flawed in various respects from the standpoint of the law and tradition.
Q 4. Discuss the relationship between Horace and his father as described in Satire 1:4.
Ans. The Satires is a collection of satirical poems written by the Roman poet, Horace. Composed in dactylic hexameters, the Satires explore the secrets of human happiness and literary perfection. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Published probably in 35 BC and at the latest, by 33 BC, the first book of Satires represents Horace’s first published work. It established him as one of the great poetic talents of the Augustan Age.
The second book was published in 30 BC as a sequel. In his Sermones (Latin for “conversations”) or Satires (Latin for “miscellaneous poems”),
Horace combines Epicurean, that is, originally Greek, philosophy with Roman good sense to convince his readers of the futility and silliness of their ambitions and desires.
As an alternative, he proposes a life that is based on the Greek philosophical ideals of autarkeia (Greek for “inner self-sufficiency”) and metriotes (Greek for “moderation” or sticking to the Just Mean).
In S. 1.6.110-131, Horace illustrates what he means by describing a typical day in his own simple, but contented life.
The second book also addresses the fundamental question of Greek Hellenistic philosophy, the search for a happy and contented life. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
In contrast to Satires I, however, many of this book’s poems are dialogues in which the poet allows a series of pseudo-philosophers, such as the bankrupt art-dealer turned Stoic philosopher Damasippus,
the peasant Ofellus, the mythical seer Teiresias, and the poet’s own slave, Dama, to espouse their philosophy of life, in satiric contrast to that of the narrator.
Although the Satires are considered to be inferior to the Odes, they have been received positively in recent decades.
Horace’s direct predecessor as writer of satires was Lucilius. Horace inherits from Lucilius the hexameter, the conversational and sometimes even “prosaic” tone of his poetry, and the tradition of personal attack.
In contrast to Lucilius, although, the victims of Horace’s mockery are not members of the nobility, but overly ambitious freedmen, anonymous misers, courtesans, street philosophers,hired buffoons, and bad poets.
In accordance with the Epicurean principle Lathe biosas (Greek for “Live unnoticed”), Horace consciously does not get involved in the complicated politics of his times, but advocates instead a life that focuses on individual happiness and virtue.
Probably equally important is the influence of Greek diatribe in the tradition of the philosopher Bion of Borysthenes (c. 335-245 BC).
Horace’s Satires share with this genre some of their themes, typical imagery, and similes, and the fiction of an anonymous interlocutor whose objections the speaker easily refutes.
In addition, Horace alludes to another inspiration, the poet Lucretius whose didactic epic De rerum natura (“On the Nature of Things”), also written in hexameters, popularized Epicurean physics in Rome. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
For example, Horace’s comparison of his satires with cookies that a teacher uses to encourage his students to learn their letters, reminds of Lucretius’ more traditional comparison of his poetry with the sugar that sweetens the bitter medicine of philosophy.
Moreover, Lucretian stock phrases such as nunc ad rem redeo (“now I return to the matter at hand”) give Horace’s philosophical “conversations” (Sermones) a subtly Lucretian flavor
Q 1. Who do you think is the real hero of the Iliad?
Ans. The Iliad is a story in which many men should be recognized as great war heroes. They all show a tremendous amount of courage to fight in such a barbaric battle.
But this paper’s main focus is between two great leaders of opposing sides.
Achilles, who represents the Achaians and Hector, who represents the Trojans. Though both show their bravery during many different instances in the poem, it’s quite obvious to the reader who the better of the two is.
King Agamemnon and Achilles are having a conflict over a woman.
But if you read deeper into the conflict it has more to do with honor. Honor seems to be the most important thing to all of the characters in the poem.
In book two, after the argument between Achilles and King Agamemnon has come to a hault, Achilles has already decided not to defend his army.
He feels the king has dishonored him, by refusing to give him Chryseis. So for about of the war he did not help his fellow brothers in battle, instead he chose to pout for more than half of the poem. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
He knew that he was desperately needed at one point and still refused to assist in battle.
He kept tabs on everything that was going on by sending out Patroklos to Nestor. Nestor would keep him up to date with the daily occurrences.
There are three separate occasions where things weren’t going in favor of Achilles, and he would cry.
His tears were so heavy and his cries so loud that his mother would come down from the heavens (She is a goddess) to offer her assistance.
(In other words, he cried for his mommy) That’s not exactly the actions of a brave warrior. Hector is introduced to the reader around book three.
His brother Paris is challenged to a one on one match against Menelaos, with Helen as the prize. Paris loses but the gods save him.
They take Paris and Helen and put them in bed together. When Hector finds his brother he is enraged. Hector is very concerned with upholding honor and gives his brother a scolding about how wrong his actions are.
There are many separate occasions where the Trojan army would attempt to retreat but Hector would always be the one to say no and want to keep going forward.
For example, after Nestor omes to battle in the armor of Achillies the Trojan army retreated but Hector kept going. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Another sign of Hectors importance is when he is chosen to be the one who is sent to relay messages back and forth from the city of Troy, to the battlefield.
Another character trait that is seen in Hector but in no other character in the poem, is the love for his family.
On one of his trips to Troy to relay a message he stops home to see his wife and child. Here the reader gets a sense of love and warmth from Hector.
A large majority of the poem is about battle, so to see a little compassion in one character akes a difference in that characters role.
His main purpose in fighting in the war is torm protect his wife and child. He states his concern for them if the city was to be taken over at the end of book six.
No other characters portray that image to the reader. Hector was even able to resist Helen when she tried to seduce him in book seven, after his duel with Ajax.
He could have slept with her, who would have known? Instead he remained faithful to his wife. Throughout all of the battles you could hear Hector chanting to his men, hyping them up, just making the situation a little better for his men.
In the end of the poem Hector is the one to die. He shows his bravery by fighting Achilles in the last book of the poem. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
All of Hectors fellow knights took shelter at the sign of Achilles but he did not. Instead he chose to stand up to Achilles even if it did cost him his life.
The battle was very intense and the poem gives a great description of the occurrences. The reader can easily get a mental image of the scene.
Their final battle was described from the setting in the sky, all the way to Achilles’ spear ripping through the flesh in Hectors neck..
Q 2. Would you agree that ‘Oedipus Rex is the story of a noble man in pursuit of the truth that ultimately destroys him’?
Ans. Oedipus Rex is the story of a nobleman who seeks knowledge that in the end destroys him.
His greatness is measured in part by the fact that the gods have prophesied his fate: the gods do not take interest in insignificant men.
Before the action of the play begins, Oedipus has set out to discover whether he is truly the son of Polybus and Merope, the king and queen who have brought him up.
He learns from the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, the most powerful interpreter of the voice and the will of the gods, that he will kill his father and marry his mother.
His response is overwhelmingly human: he has seen his moira, his fate, and he can’t accept it. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
His reaction is to do everything he can, including leaving his homeland as quickly as possible, to avoid the possibility of killing Polybus and marrying Merope.
The Greek audience would have known that Oedipus was a descendant of Kadmos, founder of Thebes, who had sown the dragon teeth that produced the Spartoi (the sown men).
Legend determined that the Kingship of Thebes would be in dispute, with fraternal rivalry resembling that of the Spartoi, who fought and killed each other.
This bloody legacy follows Oedipus, but it also reaches into all the plays of the trilogy.
For example, in Antigone, we learn that Antigone’s brothers Polyneices and Eteocles killed each other in the shadow of the city walls.
Thus, the fate Oedipus attempts to avoid actually dooms most of the characters in the true plays, including his true father, Laios, and his daughter Antigone.
Sophocles develops the drama in terms of Irony: the disjunction between what seems to be true and what is true.
Knowing the outcome of the action, the audience savors the ironic moments from the beginning of the play to the end. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Oedipus flees his homeland, to avoid fulfilling the prophecy, only to run headlong into the fate foretold by the Oracle.
He unwittingly returns to his original home, Thebes, and to his parents, murdering Laios, his true father, at a crossroads on the way and marrying lokaste, his true mother, and becoming king of Thebes.
The blind seer Teiresias warns Oedipus not to pursue the truth, but, in human fashion, Oedipus refuses to heed Teiresias’s warnings.
When the complete truth becomes clear to Oedipus, he physically blinds Teiresias, Oedipus must now look inward for the truth, without the distractions of surface experiences.
The belief that the moral health of the ruler directly affected the security of the polis was widespread in Athenian Greece.
Indeed, the Athenians regarded their state as fragile like a human being whose health, physical and moral, could change suddenly.
Because the Greeks were concerned for the wellbeing of their state, the polis often figures in the tragedies. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
The Sophoclean Oedipus trilogy is usually called the Theban plays, a terminology that reminds us that the story of Oedipus can be read as the story of an individual or as the story of a state.
Oedipus Rex examines the tension between and interdependence of the individual and the state.
The agricultural and ritual basis of the Dionysian festivals, in which Greek drama developed, underscores the importance the Greeks attached to the individual’s dependence on the state that feeds him and on the proper ways of doing things.
This could be planting and harvesting or worshipping the gods or living as part of a political entity.
The underlying conflict in the play is political. The political relationship of human beings to the gods, the arbiters of their fate, is dramatized in Oedipus’s relationship with the seer Teiresias. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
If he had his way, Oedipus might disregard Teiresias entirely. But Oedipus can’t command everything, even as ruler. His incomplete knowledge, despite his wisdom, is indicative of the limitations of every individual.
The contrast of Oedipus and Creon, lokaste’s brother, is one of political style. Oedipus is a fully developed character who reveals himself as sympathetic but willful. He acts on his misunderstanding of the prophecy without re-consulting the oracle.
He marries lokaste and blinds himself without reconsulting the oracle. Creon, who is much less complicated, never acts without consulting the oracle and thoughtfully reflecting on the Oracle’s message.
Oedipus sometimes behaves tyrannically, and he appears eager for power. Creon takes power only when forced to do so.
The depth of Sophocles’ character development was unmatched, except by his contemporary Euripides, for almost two thousand years. Sophocles’ drama is one of psychological development.
His audiences saw Oedipus as a model for human greatness, but also as a model for the human capacity to fall from a great height.
The play is about the limits of human knowledge; it is also about the limits and the frailty of human happiness.
Q 3. In what way does Pot of Gold provide a view of ancient Roman society? Discuss.
Ans. The Pot of Gold gives us an insight into Roman life at that time—especially the position of the women and slaves. …
The System Of Dowry In The Pot Of Gold, it’s by Lar Familiaris that the audience is informed that Euclio’s grandfather, being a superb miser, had buried a pot of gold within the central hall of his house. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
The play is a satire that depicts the anxiety that greed, avarice, and miserliness brings.
A deity reveals a pot of gold to Euclio so that he can use the money as dowry for his daughter Phaedria’s wedding. The plot revolves around Euclio’s attempts to protect the gold and hide it from the others.
Not much is known about the life of Plautus. Titus Maccius Plautus was born around 254 BC in Sarsina, Umbria, in present day Italy. As a young boy he left his village and joined a travelling theatre group.
It is believed that he later reached Rome, where he began to work as a stage assistant and actor.
He is even said to have worked as a carpenter on the sets, according to William Harris.
Plautus was exposed to Greek theatre and Greek New Comedy, especially the comedy of Menander, when he joined the Roman army as a soldier and travelled across Southern Italy.
Plautus’ earliest plays, Addictus and Saturio, were written while he was still a hand-miller, travelling from door to door. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
His comedies became a success and he soon became a full-time dramatist. Plautus chose to rework Menander’s plays instead of just translating them. He introduced local Roman colour in the plays.
Though he borrowed the plot and characters from the original play, he would add his own brand of slapstick comedy and raucous humour to the play.
Plautus was instrumental in introducing music, song and dance as a part of plot in his plays. He is said to have written more than 130 plays, but we have access to only 21 of them in the present age.
They are written in Latin and are possibly the earliest works of Roman literature we have access to.
Some of his most famous works are The Pot of Gold, The Menaechmi, Stichus, Amphitryon and The Swaggering Soldier.
However, researchers face problems while dealing with his works since several of his manuscripts are incomplete. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Plautus is counted among the two greatest dramatists of the Roman comedy—“Fabula Palliata” or “Palliata Comoedia”, the other of course being Terence.
Menander was a huge influence on Plautus, and Aulularia is thought to be inspired from one of Menander’s lost comedies.
Plautus’ comedy is mostly situational, with a lot of complications in the action, which may arise from mistaken identity, deliberate concealing of information or the villainy of a wily character.
It relies equally on surprises and the predictability of familiar characters and situations.
The satire is genial in tone, and whatever the outcome, the characters learn something from the action of the play.
Plautine comedy gives us an insight into Roman local life, because even though he is influenced by the Greek New Comedy, he places his own characters in his contemporary society and makes them speak Latin.
Unlike Terence, who wrote his plays in Greek and set them in Athens, Plautus changed the settings of his plays to several places across Italy.
Like all of Plautus’ plays, The Pot of Gold too is set in Athens. Yet, the themes and issues he highlights are Roman. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
His comedies are a reflection of the society of his time. The characters he describes help the modern researcher to build an idea of the manner in which society functioned in Plautus’ time.
The Pot of Gold gives us an insight into Roman life at that time-especially the position of the women and slaves Lar Familiaris presents the prologue of the play, which sets the stage for the action that follows.
It is by Lar Familiaris that the audience is informed that Euclio’s grandfather, being a great miser, had buried a pot of gold in the central hall of his house.
This wealth had remained undiscovered until Lar Familiaris, in his pity for Euclio’s impoverished condition, and his appreciation of Phaedria’s devotion, guided Euclio to the treasure.
While Euclio is preoccupied with hiding his treasure, his daughter Phaedria has been seduced by Lyconides, a youth who wishes to marry her as she is expecting their child.
Oblivious to this, Euclio has accepted his neighbour Megadorus’ proposal of marriage for his daughter. Megadorus happens to be Lyconides’ uncle.
Lyconides confesses his love for Phaedria to her father, and while he does so, his slave steals the pot of gold. The manuscript of the play which survives contains the action only upto this point. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Most editors who have completed the text, including E.F.Watling, have done so from summaries that have survived or bits of dialogues which are available to them.
From the summaries available to researchers, they have been able to fathom that the ending of the play is happy, with Lyconides and Phaedria marrying each other, and miserly Euclio uncharacteristically deciding to give them the pot of gold as a wedding gift.
Q 4. Discuss the myth of Bacchus. Why do you think there was a clash in worshipping him?
Ans. The Roman god of wine and viticulture, Bacchus was the bringer of ecstasies and inducer of frenzied states such as creativity and religious devotion.
Also known as Eleutherios (“liberator,” in Greek), Bacchus represented the spontaneous and unrestrained aspects of life.
The Romans believed that Bacchus operated through inducing a state of drunkenness into his vessels; this state freed the inebriated from social conventions and allowed new ways of thinking and acting. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
The figure of Bacchus emerged from the blending of two distinct deities: Dionysus, a Greek deity who lent his mythology to Bacchus in the second century BCE, and Liber (“The Free One”), an Italian wine god who would later appear as part of the “plebeian” Aventine triad.
Ultimately, the Roman version of Bacchus was a freewheeling lover of revelry who gave wine and granted drunkenness to all who wished for it.
Etymology : The Latin name “Bacchus” descended from the Greek word Bakkhos, an epithet of the god Dionysus.
That word Bakkhos was itself derived from the term bakkheia, a Greek word used to describe the frenzied, ecstatic state that the god produced in people.
In appropriating the name “Bacchus,” then, the Latins were claiming an aspect of Dionysus for their own god. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
“Bacchus” could also be related to the Latin word bacca, meaning “a berry” or “the fruit of a tree or shrub.” In this context, such a word could be referencing grapes, the key ingredient in wine.
Attributes : The god of wine, the great reveler, and the paragon of drunkenness (among other titles), Bacchus was the deity that bestowed the gifts of inebriation and altered states upon humanity.
He controlled the growth of grapevines and guided viticulturalists through the wine-making process.
VIVA Bacchus was always depicted as a young man who was usually beardless and often drunk. He sometimes carried a thyrsus-a staff wound with ivy and covered in honey.
Family : In the mythological traditions surrounding him, Bacchus was born twice. His first father was Jupiter, and his first mother was Proserpina, Ceres’ daughter who was famously abducted by Pluto. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Bacchus was later reborn with the help of Jupiter and Semele, a woman often described as his second mother.
As the son of Jupiter, Bacchus was directly related to many Roman deities. His aunts and uncles included Ceres, Juno, Vesta, Pluto, and Neptune, while his siblings included Mercury, Vulcan, Minerva, and even his mother Proserpina.
Mythology : In Roman mythology, the stories of Bacchus were neither as common nor as richly told as those of Dionysus in the Greek traditions.
The Birth and Rebirth of Bacchus : The mythology of Bacchus centers on his birth, death, and unlikely rebirth through the figure of the mortal Semele.
The first birth happened in a conventional manner for the gods. Jupiter became smitten with Proserpina, who was usually presented as the daughter of the great king of the gods.
Assuming the form of a snake, Jupiter slithered into the Underworld and made love to Proserpina. During this encounter, they conceived a child: Bacchus. In the Roman tradition, this first incarnation of the god was called Liber.
This detail was an acknowledgment of the Italian wine god whom the Romans worshipped prior to adopting the cult of Dionysus. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Bacchus (or Liber) was among the early Roman gods who fought in the cataclysmic struggle known as the Titanomachy. This struggle pitted Jupiter’s kin against the defenders of this father, Saturn.
In one of the conflict’s epic battles, Bacchus was killed and his body torn to pieces. With a heavy heart, Jupiter gathered up the remains of his son and placed Bacchus’ mangled heart into a potion.
Jupiter then gave the mixture to Semele, the mortal wife of the king of Thebes, who promptly drank it and became pregnant.
Bacchus and the Roman State Religion : Bacchus was inaugurated into Roman state religion with the adoption of the mystery cult of Dionysus (or the Greek Bakkhos) in the late third century BCE.
The Roman iteration of Bacchus was an outgrowth and reincarnation of Liber, an ancient Roman wine god.
Liber was a member of the Aventine Triad-a popular cultic trio among Romans of low social standing.
Dionysus’ death and rebirth proved convenient, as it allowed the Romans to explain the ouster of Liber and the importation of Bacchus in a way that conformed to established mythology.
The chief festival held in Bacchus’ honor was the infamous Bacchanalia. Though specific details surrounding the Bacchanalia are scarce-partly due to a lack of sources, and partly due to the distortions of ancient authors such as Livy,
who scandalized Bacchic cults-the festivals were known to feature drinking, carousing, and reveling, among other activities. BEGC 102 Free Solved Assignment
Bacchanalia festivals were often held in the countryside, far from unnatural and stiff city life. Versions of the festival were held several times a year in southern Italy and, following their conquest, in the Near East and Greek regions of the Roman Empire.
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