Answer one of the following questions. Please consult the guidelines & grading scheme below.
1) Crime & Punishment: We have seen in our readings many different examples of gods and goddesses punishing humans for hybris and insulting behavior (e.g., Lycaon, Arachne, Hippolytus, Pentheus, etc.). Compare and contrast two of these examples from the post-Odyssey readings (i.e., anything from Homeric Hymns, Ovid, or Euripides). For each example you should consider the nature of the human’s offense and the methods and motives of the god’s/goddess’ punishment, as well as any other relevant issues you find interesting (e.g., other victims, reactions from other gods or humans, etc.). Be sure to use at least 2-3 specific, detailed textual examples for each instance of divine punishment.
2) Bringing Back the Olympians? Though the Greek and Roman gods may seem strange, melodramatic, and at times downright cruel to modern audiences, they were also the objects of religious worship for many people for centuries. Using at least 4 specific, detailed examples from the texts, examine how the Olympian Gods might possibly fit in the modern world? Can you think of any reasons why someone today might find beliefs in such gods appealing? What do you think would be the biggest drawbacks / turn-offs that would prevent modern society from accepting them? (NOTE: I am not trying to challenge anyone’s religious convictions, nor do I expect/want anyone to ACTUALLY try converting others, BUT I think it’s interesting to think about why the Greeks and Romans worshiped these gods for as long as they did – again, focus on our texts, do not provide an intimate or thorough account of your own religious beliefs)
a) Don’t do outside research for these journals. They are designed so that I can see that you’ve read the texts and thought about them; I understand that most of you aren’t myth experts and that’s not how I will grade them (see below)
b) Address specifically the question(s) being asked. The prompts are intentionally left a bit broad, but…
c) Don’t try to give a comprehensive/exhaustive answer. Focus on an angle or subtopic you find interesting and examine it with detail (see below). For example, question 1 above asks you about Odysseus’ enemies – you don’t need to analyze every single enemy; instead focus on a few that you can examine in detail.
d) Don’t just summarize the story. Instead, develop an interpretation based on your own thoughts and reading, and which you support with…
e) You should bring up at least 4 specific details/examples from the reading that support your point(s)
f) You don’t need to quote the text or even cite exact locations (though citing can be helpful for me). By “specific example/detail”, I just mean a clear reference to something that happens in the text that isn’t broad or general. E.g., “Zeus turns Lycaon into a wolf” = broad, NOT SPECIFIC; “Zeus makes Lycaon into an animal that retains his murderous bloodlust and wild eyes.” = specific
g)The writing doesn’t have to be formal but you should write in complete sentences that are readily understandable to an outside reader.
h) While there is no set length for these entries, 250-450 words should be sufficient to make your point)
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