Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. Compare and contrast the characters of Odysseus and Aeneas. How do the aspects of their heroism differ? What does this say about their respective societies?
2. Compare and contrast the visions of heroism in the Iliad and the Odyssey. How do these visions reflect different ideas about human life and its place in the world?
3. Discuss the ways in which these myths functioned as literature, science, and religion.
Suggested Essay Topics
1. In terms of the myths as a whole, what is unusual about Hercules’ character? How does he maintain his heroic stature after committing so many crimes?
2. Discuss the role of women in these myths. Do these stories offer one cohesive vision of the role of women in Greek society?
3. Neither Oedipus, nor Orestes, nor Antigone goes on any long adventure full of monsters and vicious gods, yet all three are considered “heroes” of Greek myth. What defines these three unusual characters as heroic?
4. Compare and contrast the stories of Orestes and Medea. Both are about vengeance, but why is one character celebrated and the other demonized?
5. Prometheus is an unusual character—among other reasons, for defying both his fellow Titans and, later, Zeus. What do you make of his actions? As what kind of symbol might he have functioned for the classical authors?
6. The myths are full of instances of the cruelty of the gods. Giving multiple examples, discuss the reasons for the gods’ cruelty. Is it always justified? What does the cruelty of the gods say about the Greeks’ view of the universe?
by Alleeeson, August 08, 2012
On page 380 I found it really interesting that Oedipus said " ' For the love of God, ' " a couple of times. I thought they might say for the love of the gods (plural) since they honored many not just one. Or was God considered Zeus to them?
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