CLAS220 - Lecture Notes for April 19, 2012
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CLAS220 - Lecture Notes for April 19, 2012 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Introduction toClassical Mythology Dr. Michael BroderUniversity of South Carolina April 19, 2012
  • 2. William-AdolpheBouguereau (1889)
  • 3. Extra Credit Opportunity• If you attended Dr. Connolly’s lecture on April 12 and wish to receive extra credit, be sure to submit your report by the time of the final exam (Wed, 5/2, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon)• A 2-page report gets you credit for up to 2 Daily Writes (up to 8 points), depending on how complete and comprehensive the report is
  • 4. Daily Write #24: ReviewIn his poem On the Nature of the Universe, Lucretius callsVenus “mother” of the Romans and “nourishing Venus”who “makes the sea and land throng with life.” In TheTale of Cupid and Psyche, Apuleius calls Venus “mother ofthe nature of the universe” and “nourishing Venus” who“feeds and fosters the whole of this great globe.” Whydo you think Apuleius chose to describe Venus inlanguage that reminds us of Lucretius’s poem? Do youthink Apuleius’s intentions towards Lucretius areserious, playful, mocking, respectful, disrespectful, orsomething else? Explain your answer as completely asyou can.
  • 5. Daily Write #24: ReviewSample student response:I think Apuleius is alluding to Lucretius’ Venusin a playful yet respectful manner. Lucretiusmade a very serious use of Venus. Apuleius isnot mocking Venus or Lucretius; he is payinghomage to what has come before. He assumesthat his readers have a knowledge of Lucretius’writings and can understand both the humorand the respect in Apuleius’ parody.
  • 6. Mythological Parody• Parody – A literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect• Origin of the word “parody” – Par (para) = alongside, not “straight” – Ody (ode) = song – Thus, parody is a kind of “counter-song,” a playful imitation that goes against the serious grain of the original
  • 7. Mythological Parody• Aristotle (Poetics, ii. 5) wrote that the comic poet Hegemon of Thasos (c. 430 BCE) invented a kind of parody by altering the wording of well- known poems to transform the sublime into the ridiculous• In ancient Greek literature, a parodia was a narrative poem imitating the style and rhythm (dactylic hexameter) of epics but dealing with light, satirical or mock-heroic characters and events
  • 8. Mythological Parody• Lucius is on a (mock) heroic journey• Lucius seeks hospitality / xenia from Milo• Milo’s wife Pamphile engages in witchcraft and magic, like Helen, Circe, or Medea• Lucius is curious, like Odysseus, but foolish where Odysseus is clever and cunning
  • 9. Mythological Parody• Lucius’ (mock) heroic quest for a rose to regain his human form reminds us of other heroic quests – Odysseus’ journey home – The labors of Herakles – Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece – Aeneas’ quest for the Golden Bough
  • 10. Mythological Parody• Charite, the maiden kidnapped from her wedding by thieves, is like the kidnapped maidens of mythology listed by Herodotus – Io – Medea – Helen
  • 11. Mythological Parody• The old woman who is a servant to the thieves and tells the tale of Cupid and Psyche is like Eurycleia, the nurse in the Odyssey who tells the story of how Odysseus received his scar and his name
  • 12. Mythological Parody• Traditional epic maintains a high tone – Odysseus’ relationship with Nausicaa• Apuleius’ novel often assumes a low tone – Lucius’ relationship with Photis
  • 13. Epic Poet Becomes Romantic Storyteller• Romance – A medieval tale based on legend, love, adventure, or the supernatural – A prose narrative about imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious – A love story especially in the form of a novel
  • 14. Epic Poet Becomes Romantic Storyteller• When Lucius (as a donkey) is stolen from Milo’s house by thieves, he becomes an eyewitness and an eavesdropper• Instead of receiving the gift of song from the Muses, he picks up stories along his journey by seeing them firsthand or hearing them from others• The romantic storyteller is thus analogous to a historian – Hower, his stories are understood to be entertaining fictions, not historial facts
  • 15. How different is the romantic storyteller from the epic poet?• Remember what Hesiod’s Muses say: “We know how to tell many believable lies, but also, when we want to, how to speak the plain truth.”• The romantic storyteller (fiction writer, novelist), while divorced from the idea of divine inspiration (the Muses), retains the idea of fictional tales (“lies”) that have some kind of intellectual, emotional, or spiritual truth
  • 16. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Both Parody and Allegory• Parody – A literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect• Allegory – Use of symbolic fictional figures and actions to express truths or generalizations about human existence, human nature, or the human condition
  • 17. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche is both a parody and an allegory• Mythological parody• Philosophical allegory
  • 18. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Mythological Parody• Psyche is a beautiful maiden, like many beautiful maidens in mythology such as Pandora or Helen• Most beautiful maidens are said to receive their beauty as a gift from Venus, but Psyche’s beauty is not credited to Venus• Instead, Psyche becomes a rival to Venus, and is worshipped as a goddess• This makes Venus angry, and she retaliates
  • 19. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Mythological Parody• Apuleius’ Venus is a multiple mythological parody – Demeter from the Homeric Hymn to Demeter • Demeter, grieving for her kidnapped daughter, withholds the grain from humanity • Venus, grieving for her abandoned temples, deprives humanity of Psyche • Thus, Venus takes on the role of kidnapper, like Hades in the Homeric Hymn
  • 20. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Mythological Parody• Apuleius’ Venus is a multiple mythological parody – Venus from Lucretius’ On the Workings of the Universe – Juno from Vergil’s Aeneid (with Psyche, in this parody, becoming a parody of Aeneas)
  • 21. Aeneid Book I, Lines 1-11Of arms and a man I sing, that famous fugitive from fatewho first tried to escape the shores of Troyonly to find himself here in Italy on Lavinian shores,tossed on land and sea by powers above(because cruel Juno’s anger doesn’t forget)and suffering many casualties in war as well,until he could finally found a city and bring his gods to Latium;whence the Latin race, our Alban ancestors, and the lofty walls of Rome.Oh Muse, recount for me the reasons—which insult, what injury was she nursing,when the queen of the gods contrived so many mishapsfor a man so marked by his piety, forced him to undergo so many labors.Do the gods above really experience such intense anger? Translated by…Dr. Broder!
  • 22. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Mythological Parody• Venus demands that Psyche be sent to a mountaintop and wed to a murderous beast – Reminds us of the plight of Andromeda, chained to a rocky cliff to be wed to a sea monster – She is rescued by Perseus – In this scenario, Venus = Poseidon, who demanded the sacrifice of Andromeda (Hades is only in Clash of the Titans)
  • 23. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Mythological Parody Carle van Loo, c. 1740
  • 24. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Mythological Parody• Sent by Venus to destroy Psyche, Cupid falls in love with her and flies her away to his castle• Apuleius’ Cupid, too, is a multiple mythological parody – If Psyche = Andromeda, then Cupid = Perseus – If Venus = Demeter, then Psyche = Persephone and Cupid = Hades
  • 25. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Mythological Parody• After Cupid abandons Psyche for revealing his identity, she seeks help from Venus, who assigns her four impossible tasks• Of course, this makes – Venus = Juno (Hera) – Psyche = Hercules (Herakles)
  • 26. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Mythological Parody• When Psyche must retrieve a jar of beauty from Persephone, things get REALLY FREAKY – Since she is making an underworld journy, Psyche now = Odysseus, Aeneas, Herakles, Eurydice (wife of Orpheus), and Alcestis (you remember her) – But remember, Psyche herself is already a mythological parody of Persephone, so she she going to visit HERSELF! – But since the beauty comes in a jar, Psyche = Pandora (especially when she opens the box)
  • 27. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Mythological Parody• After Cupid rescues her, he begs Zeus to let Psyche become immortal – Like Helen and Herakles and Zeus’ own boyfriend (“cupbearer”), Ganymede (who, btw, is an ancestor of Aeneas)• Psyche is given ambrosia (like Demophoon in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter…so Psyche is both Persephone and Demophoon…again, FREAKY!)
  • 28. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Philosophical Allegory• Psyche = soul is joined with her heavenly desire = Cupid• Remember Uranian Eros from the speech of Pausanias in Plato’s Symposium?
  • 29. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Philosophical Allegory• Psyche = soul believes that her desire = Cupid is an ugly monster = wealth and power, but instead he turns out to be a beautiful god = wisdom and virtue
  • 30. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Philosophical Allegory• But because Psyche = soul does not remain true to her desire = Cupid, she loses him• Psyche = soul must then go on a long journey with many labors to regain her desire = Cupid
  • 31. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Philosophical Allegory• Once Psyche = soul is reunited with her desire = Cupid, she becomes immortal – Remember the immortality of the soul in Socrates’ speech in Plato’s Symposium? – Remember the immortal souls that are reborn into new bodies in Vergil’s Aeneid?
  • 32. The Tale of Cupid and Psyche Philosophical Allegory• Once Psyche = soul is reunited with her desire = Cupid and becomes immortal, they have a child named Voluptas = Joy, Delight, Pleasure, HAPPINESS!• Thus, the immortal soul achieves happiness when it is united with its true desire, which is beauty and goodness (Socrates much???)
  • 33. Mythological Parody ANDPhilosophical Allegory It’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping!
  • 34. Extra Credit Opportunity• If you attended Dr. Connolly’s lecture on April 12 and wish to receive extra credit, be sure to submit your report by the time of the final exam (Wed, 5/2, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon)• A 2-page report gets you credit for up to 2 Daily Writes (up to 8 points), depending on how complete and comprehensive the report is
  • 35. Introduction toClassical Mythology Dr. Michael BroderUniversity of South Carolina April 19, 2012