Humanities Course Project

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Humanities 111 Course Project (two-part). First Draft due Friday, April 31.

Choose one topic from any two of the three sections:

ONE: THEMES (2 full pages, double-spaced, 12-point font).

Both Oedipus and Gilgamesh kill monsters that threaten the human community, thus liberating it from supernatural menaces. One does this with his fighting strength, the other with his mind. Is this the only difference between their two acts? Explain further divergences between the two heroic deeds, based on detail you read in the texts.

How do complications arising from the exchange of women cause conflict in the ancient societies we have read about? Make sure to consider both marriage and other forms of the exchange of women in your response.

Minor characterswhat is their role in the story, how do they relate to major characters? Choose two minor characters who help bring out features of the major characters: one from each of two texts. Discuss why these minor characters must be there in order that the conflicts faced by the major characters make sense.

If we consider the city of Uruk the hero of Gilgamesh, what is its story? Does it undergo changes, make progress, encounter obstacles or defeat challenges, as the main character of a story must? To answer these questions, you should consider in detail the words on the page, but you may also need to read between the lines.


TWO: PASSAGE ANALYSIS (2 full pages, double-spaced, 12-point font).

Find a metaphor or cluster of metaphors that you consider characteristic of one of the texts we have read, and explain what conflict or relationship it helps us explore. The passages you consider must be in different parts of the text (e.g. in Tablet II and XI of Gilgamesh).

Find parallels between any shorter passage and the larger story of a given text. Explain in detail how the passage you have chosen encompasses the conflicts that define the text as a whole.

What are the political dimensions of public speech in at least two texts we have read, and how do they differ from each other on this question? Think about the political consequences of the way public speech is carried out in the different texts and find contrasts.

Compare passages in two different texts in which story telling is explicitly made into a theme of the narrative. What perspectives do the texts give us on story telling in relation to politics, strategy, education or cultural memory?


THREE: CREATIVE (2 full pages, double-spaced, 12-point font).

Write a debate between two of the characters of the texts we have read on one of the themes from part ONE.

Explain from Helens point of view what really happened to begin the Trojan War and find passages in the Iliad that hint at the truth of what you are saying.

Imagine that you are Iphigeneia, speaking from beyond the grave. Give your perspective on the events narrated in the Iliad, with reference to specific passages from the text.

Imagine that you are Enlil, and express your point of view on the events narrated in the Epic of Gilgamesh, with reference to specific passages from the text. You should consider Tablet XI as well as at least one other tablet in your response.

Imagine that you are the priest-translator at the Oracle of Delphi. Explain your point of view on the events narrated in the play Oedipus the King, making specific reference to passages. Does it make any difference to our interpretation of Oedipus the King whether or not your god, Apollo, actually exists?