Wilson’s plays in his
Pittsburgh Cycle were
intended to reflect the
American during each
decade of the 20th
GROUNDED IN CULTURE’S MYTHS
Wilson also follows in the tradition of
classical Greek theatre.
Greek playwrights (like Aeschylus and
Sophocles) crafted plays to show
their fellow citizens human weakness
and potential for growth.
WHAT ARE THE MYTHS ADDRESSED IN
myth: a widely
held but false
belief or idea.
Yoruba trickster hero Eshu
“a spirit of Chaos and Trickery, and plays
frequently by leading mortals to
temptation and possible tribulation in the
hopes that the experience will lead
ultimately to their maturation” (“Eshu”)
Troy is a descendent of Eshu; he wants
complete satisfaction or nothing at all.
He’s a trickster.
His trials and tribulations include
Alberta, baseball, work, etc.
His goals are success and survival,
regardless of the cost.
Character’s names (i.e.Troy)
Troy’s hubris (exaggerated self-
confidence) when it comes to facing
Allusion to Homer’s The Odyssey
and The Illiad: structure of a journey
Allusion to Oedipus in Troy’s
blindness after he fights his father.
Troy wrestles with Death, Jacob
wrestles the angel (Genesis).
Character’s names (i.e. Gabriel)
Those associated with baseball.
Concept of fair play
Fairness ofTroy’s fate
Wilson’s use of mythology elevates
Troy from the garbage collector
who lives in Pittsburgh, drinks on
Fridays, and cheats on his wife into
WHAT’S A HERO?
IN THE LITERARY SENSE?
A MYTHIC HERO
Male or female, born under special
circumstances (i.e. noble birth, child of
a god), show early signs of being
special (i.e. superhuman qualities)
Often emerges through a journey, also
called a quest.
Odysseus, Joan of Arc, Hercules
A TRAGIC HERO
Has the qualities of a mythic hero, plus…
fated by the Gods or by some supernatural force
to doom and destruction, or at least to great
simply cannot accept a diminished view of the self
has a clear-cut case of hamartia.This word is
commonly translated from the Greek as "tragic
flaw"; however, a more direct translation is "missing
of the mark.” This causes the hero to fail in his
A FOLK HERO
Ordinary person who is scoffed at by
While lacking superhuman qualities, this
person is special in other ways
(exceptionally kind, cleaver, resourceful,
Johnny Appleseed, Babe Ruth, Daniel