cc3489201132953 - Moral Agency in Greek Tragedy Acceptance...

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Unformatted text preview: Moral Agency in Greek Tragedy: Acceptance, Assertion and Acquiescence in the face of Authority Readings Aeschylus: The Oresteia Sophocles: Philoctetes Euripides: Iphigeneia at Aulis C ourse Objectives The primary aim of this course is to introduce you to some of the m asterpieces of Greek tragedy, works which have had an incalculable influence o n Western civilization. I will explain the social and cultural background of the texts, identify some of the questions that they pose and suggest some interpretations, but the ultimate aim is for you to feel comfortable enough with these works that you are ready to offer your own interpretations of character and action. Several class sessions will be given over to sketching analogous situations which you might realistically expect to encounter in your lives and “pre-scripting” possible courses of action using the figures of Orestes, Neoptolemus and Achilles as either models or foils. We will discuss a limited section of the text each class session in light of study questions I will distribute beforehand. You should read the text with the study questions in mind before class and be prepared to ask and answer questions on the text. I appreciate any challenge to an interpretation I put forward as long as the challenge is grounded in the text. When preparing for the quizzes and the final you should use the study questions as a guide to the sort o f questions I might ask, and organize material from the readings, discussions and your own notes accordingly. During the course I will introduce various Greek technical terms. A list of these is attached to this syllabus. Whenever I introduce one of these words I will explain what it means the first time and you should make a note of it, either on the list or in your notes. Before each quiz I will let you know which ones you will be responsible for, but for the final you will be expected to know the whole list. Ethics and Leadership Flag: This course is flagged as one that explicitly discusses issues of practical ethics and leadership. In the plays we will read, three protagonists are placed in situations where they are asked to do something about which they clearly have ethical misgivings. Orestes is told to kill his mother by Apollo; Neoptolemus is pressured to lie, cheat and steal by Odysseus so that Troy might fall; Achilles is asked by the Greek army, and eventually by Iphigeneia herself, to stand by and let a young girl be sacrificed, again so that the Greeks can destroy Troy. It is my fervent hope that none of you ever find yourselves in exactly these situations, b ut it is eminently conceivable that at some point in your lives you will face an ethical dilemma or challenge in which your values will conflict with what you are encouraged to do b y an authority you consider infallible, by a m entor, or by peer pressure. We will spend a session after concluding each play brainstorming as many such situations as we can as a class. Each student will then have a week to produce a “pre-script” of how they would behave in one o f the situations we have agreed are a close analogy to the situation in the play. There is a separate handout with instructions for this exercise. Office Hours I want to encourage you to make use of my office hours if you are having difficulty understanding the material or are unsure of what is expected of you. Questions such as, "Can you run over the last lecture?" will not be well received, and probably not answered. Identifying what is really the problem yourself b efore you come to me saves time and is more beneficial in the long run. If you have to miss a class, borrow somebody's notes and then come to me with specific questions. I'm afraid I cannot give individual lectures to all students who have to miss a class. Specific questions on factual m atters are often best dealt with by e-mail. Grading 3 quizzes (10% each) prescription of action in 3 different ethical dilemmas or challenges (10% each) cumulative final (40%). A = 94-100, A- = 90-93, B+ = 87-89, B = 83-86, B- = 80-82, C+ = 77-79, C=73-76, C - = 70-72, D+ = 67-69, D = 63-66, D- = 60-62, F = 59 or less. To earn Credit for the course on a CR/F basis you must make at least a C -. Half points will be rounded up; fractions less than half will be rounded down. There will be no curve. If 50% of you score over 90, 50% of you will get an A. If nobody does, nobody will. This is final . The grade 'C' means satisfactory—that is you have produced work worthy o f college credit and passed, not an inconsiderable achievement. Passing this course means understanding and remembering most of what is said in discussion and demonstrating an ability to explain it fairly clearly. 'B' work, i.e. good work, will in addition to the requirements for a C, demonstrate your own independent thinking and insight and an ability to explain your thinking very clearly. 'A', i.e. outstanding, work will demonstrate each of these to a high degree. Do not ask for "extra credit" at the end of the semester. It is obviously unfair to allow a few students a chance to improve their grade without making the same opportunity available to the whole class, which would mean more work for me at a time in the semester which is already very busy. Moreover, a larger amount of C work does not equal a B. You should do the highest grade of work of which you are capable throughout the semester. Statement on Academic Dishonesty Like all faculty at UT I take a very serious view of academic dishonesty. Any student found guilty of cheating in any way will receive an F in the course and will be reported to Student Services. In some cases academic dishonesty can result in expulsion from the University. Moreover many medical schools will not admit a student who has such a violation on their record. Scholastic dishonesty includes any kind of cheating, including plagiarism; if you are unsure about the exact definition you should consult the General information catalogue, Appendix, Section 11-802, online at: Students with Disabilities The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information co ntact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471 4641, or the information is available online at: Religious holidays Students can make up work missed for a religious holiday if they bring a request and documentation of the holiday fourteen days ahead of time. Schedule Aug. 25 Introduction to course Aug. 30 Sept. 1 Introduction to the Greek theater Agamemnon ll.1-354 Sept. 6 8 Agamemnon ll.355-680 Agamemnon ll.681-974 Sept. 13 15 Agamemnon ll.975-1330 Agamemnon ll.1331-1673 Sept. 20 22 QUIZ I: Aeschylus’ Agamemnon The Libation Bearers ll.1-504 Sept. 27 29 The Libation Bearers ll.505-837 The Libation Bearers ll.838-1076 Oct. 4 6 The Eumenides ll.1-565 The Eumenides ll.566-1047 Oct. 11 13 Brainstorming session 1 Philoctetes ll.1-319 Oct. 18 20 Philoctetes ll.319-627. *First pre-script due* Philoctetes ll.628-926 Oct. 25 27 Philoctetes ll.927-1221 Philoctetes ll.1222-1471 Nov. 1 3 QUIZ II: Sophoces’ Philoctetes Brainstorming session 2 Nov. 8 10 Iphigenia in Aulis ll.1-333 Iphigenia in Aulis ll.334-630. *Second pre-script due* Nov. 15 17 Iphigenia in Aulis ll.631-974 Iphigenia in Aulis ll.975-1275 Nov. 22 24 Iphigenia in Aulis ll.1276-1629 THANKSGIVING Nov. 29 Dec. 1 QUIZ III: Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis Brainstorming session 3 Dec. *Third pre-script due* 8 Friday December 9th, 9:00-12:00 FINAL ...
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