Preparation for Mon. May 8
No preparation before class – rest on your laurels!
Meet in Audiovisual room in the basement of the Library to view the Hollywood filming of the Broadway musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Your assignment for tonight (Monday) is to attend James Morwood’s lecture (Sophocles, Euripides and Shakespeare: Three Master Playwrights at Work) Monday, May 8 at 7:30PM in Confer 127, and to write a response paper on it. Your response paper should give a brief synopsis of the lecture, then offer your personal response detailing what you personally found interesting or useful, where you disagreed with the lecturer, or how the lecture intersected in any way with the course.
If you cannot attend Prof. Morwood’s lecture, then your assignment will be to watch the rest of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and then write a response paper using the questions handed out in today’s (Monday’s class). The movie will be showing on Monday 4:30-6PM and on Tuesday 3-4:30 and 4:30-6PM in Audiovisual room 2 in the basement of the Library. If none of these times works for you, then you can have an individual viewing of the movie in the small AV room opposite the AV counter.
Preparation for Wed. May 10
Read Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. Below are questions to consider as you read:
1. What about Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors is classic Plautus?
2. What is new in Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors? This is a broad question and you should try to answer it in as many ways as you can.
Morwood spoke of the power of comedy to make serious points. The Comedy of Errors is a classic situation
comedy in the tradition of Menander and Plautus But it also deals with serious
issues. What serious themes underlie
4. Luciana (the sister of Adriana) is a
character that does not feature in Plautus’ play. What does Shakespeare gain by
having her in his play?
5. Plautus set his play in Epidamnus (that damned place!); Shakespeare changes the setting to Ephesus. What kind of a place is Ephesus in his play, and what role does Epidamnus play in his plot?
Preparation for Fri. May 12
1. Attend the Gustavus Theater Department’s performance of Sophocles’ Electra, starring our own Kirsten Kuiken as Clytemnestra. Performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8PM, and Sunday at 2PM. We will discuss the Gustavus performance of Electra on Monday.
2. Read the first play in Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning
Becomes Electra trilogy (i.e. Homecoming, pp. 261- 317 of our text). Be sure to read the scene-setting as well as
the script itself. O’Neill is one of
the greatest American dramatists and has won all the important accolades,
including the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for literature. His trilogic Mourning Becomes Electra
(Homecoming, The Hunted, The Haunted) is set in New England during the
Civil War (spring 1865, right after the surrender of Lee to Grant in April, and
the summer of 1866). It takes as its inspiration Aeschylus’ Oresteia
trilogy about the house of Argos, so have Aeschylus in mind as you think about
what O’Neill is doing (and please bring your text of the Oresteia to
class along with your O’Neill). Here are a few questions to consider as you
read (see especially question no. 5):
1. Who is who in Mourning Becomes Electra?
Who represents Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Orestes (doesn’t appear in the first
play), Electra, Aegisthus, the prophet figure, the Chorus? How do the
descriptions of these characters echo the characterizations of their archetypes
2. How does the history of the family affect the characters in Aeschylus’ and O’Neill’s plays?
3. What plot elements and thematic elements of the Oresteia has O’Neill incorporated into his play?
4. Key elements of Greek tragedy are the recognition (anagnorisis) and the reversal (peripeteia). How do these show up in O’Neill’s drama?
5. Come to class with one idea/theme/short passage from Homecoming that you find interesting and be ready to share it with the class.