Saturday, April 26, 2008

its term-paper time, again

It's term paper time again. My paper is due on the 12th, so to my way of thinking, I am a little ahead. I have started on my "works cited", I have read a stack of journal articles and skimmed a pile of books. Just finished Sophocles "Trachaia" and Euripides "Children of Herakles"... the Euripides was awful, but the Sophocles was fairly good. I also re-read Hesiod's Theogony. But things haven't really gelled yet.

I am writing about Herakles, not because I have a particular affinity, but because that's the slip I drew out of the envelope. I already did my oral presentation, which went fairly well. What we do with the subject is up to us. I am focusing on apotheosis, since it's a fascinating aspect of the myth.

Heracles is born of mortal mother (Alcmene) and an immortal father (Zeus). He lives his life as a mortal, albeit an extraordinary one. At the end of his life, when it is clear he is dying (accidentally and painfully poisoned by his wife), he has his own pyre built. He climbs in while still alive, and is burned alive. Zeus zaps the pyre with a thunderbolt, and the "mortal" part of Heracles is burned away. His mortal soul goes down to Hades, and his immortal self is swept away to Olympia, where he joins the host of Immortals.

He was worshipped by the Greeks as a hero, and as a diety, with separate shrines for both and separate forms of ritual for each of his roles.

My paper focuses on this transformation from man to god, after a horrible and painful death (sound like anything familiar?) and what purposes it served for the Greeks/what it said about them. Or it will focus on this, once I actually manage to get it all down on paper. Probably on the 11th, if I follow the usual pattern...

1 comment:

Susan said...

I can't imagine how you get yourself to work on this. But on the bright side, if you're anything like me, having this paper due will mean that your house will become cleaner than ever before and other distasteful tasks will become uncharacteristically urgent (e.g. the cat's litter box must be emptied RIGHT NOW, before work on your term paper can commence).

Call or email me if you need further distraction. Good luck!