*An asterisk (see Fridayís assignment 2 c) indicates a question requiring a written response. See syllabus for details.
Preparation for Wed. Feb. 8 (to be completed before class)
1. Read the class syllabus. Bring to class any questions you may have.
2. Read the Background to the house of Atreus (click on link)
3. Look up and print out the family tree for the house of Tantalus under Tantalus (letter T) in the Character Glossary of the Morford & Lenardon online mythology glossary under Student Resources: http://www.oup-usa.org/sc/0195143388/glossaries/
4. Make sure you know who the following characters are, the part they play in the sorry history of the house of Tantalus, and how to spell their names:† Aegisthus, Agamemnon, Atreus, Clytemnestra, Electra, Hippodamia, Menelaus, Orestes, Pelops, Pylades, Tantalus, Thyestes.
Preparation for Fri. Feb. 10
1. Read sections 4 on Greek theaters and section 5 on the structure of Greek tragedies of Walter Englertís website at Reed College: http://academic.reed.edu/humanities/110Tech/Theater.html#Theaters
2. Read Aeschylus Agamemnon lines 1-487 (pp. 3-21).† As you do so, answer the following questions:
a) Why does Aeschylus choose to begin the play with the watchman scene (lines 1-39)?
b) Go through the first choral song (lines 39-257) - the first choral song of each play is called the parodos because the chorus enter by one of the parodoi (plural of parodos) at the beginning of the song, and remain in the orchestra for the rest of the play. Work through it stanza by stanza (a stanza is a verse, marked off by a new paragraph). For each stanza, ask yourself: to whom is the chorus referring, and to what incident in the story of the house of Tantalus? You should consult the notes at the bottom of the page. You can annotate the margin of your book (or write your notes out on a separate paper if you donít want to write in your book). If you are stuck, reread the Background to the house of Atreus.
*c) To be printed and brought to class. Choose ONE stanza (e.g. Strophe 1, Antistrophe 1 etc.) of the parodos (lines 39-257) and write a close analysis of it.† Here are some things to think about, but feel free to focus on what you think is most important about the stanza.† What is the effect of the words? What are some of the key words used?† How does the stanza fit in with the overall themes of the parodos (i.e. of the whole choral song)? And what does the stanza tell us about the Greek belief system - i.e. what underlying principles are evident in what the chorus says?
Be prepared to read to the class your chosen stanza and your analysis of it.† Remember that your reading of the stanza is a performance, so think about what emotion you want to convey and what cadences you will use.† Remember to put your name on your written response and to indicate which stanza you are analyzing.