Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday, February 8th and 10th, 2012

Dear Mythology Kids,

I thoroughly enjoy the moments in class when you read from The Iliad, as the story becomes genuine and you clearly make a connection with it. I valued listening to your performances....well done!

We discussed Menelaus, Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and Iphigenia today in class.

Menelaus, King of Sparta/Husband to Helen

1."Hear me also! This touches me most clearly. My mind is that the Acheans and the Trojans should now be reconciled. You have suffered enough this quarrel of mine and Paris. Call his grace, King Priam, as a witness, and we do not wish to violate this old man, he looks both before and behind, to see that the best is done for both sides."
2. " Paris struck first, but Menelaus caught the swift spear on his shield then hurled his own. It rent Paris' but did not wound him. Menelaus drew his sword, his only weapon now, but as he did so it fell from his hand broken. Undaunted though unarmed he leaped upon Paris and seizing him...he would have dragged him to the Greeks victoriously if it had not been for Aphrodite saving him. "

1. "Menelaus and Helen received him graciously as their guest. The ties between guest and host were strong. Each was bound to help and never harm the other. But Paris broke that bond. Menelaus trusting completely to it left Paris in his home and went off to Crete."
2. "Later after Paris' death, the Trojans gave Helen to his brother Deiphobus, in whose house, on the night of the fall of Troy, Menelaus found her. He had meant to kill her on the spot, but her beauty and Aphrodite's power deterred him."

1. "Menelaus saw who was making the challenge and was as glad as a lion coming on the carcass of a wild goat....He stood and looked at his rival with contempt."
2. Same as the second quote for B1..refer to the second quote for B1.

Burial mask discovered by Henrik Scheilmann. Scheilmann thought he had discovered the mask of Agamemnon. He was actually incorrect, as the funeral mask is several hundred years older than the Agamemnon of history.
1. "Artemis was so angry. One of her beloved wild creatures, a hare, had been slain by the Greeks, together with her young, and the only way to create the winds and ensure a safe voyage to Troy was to appease her by sacrificing to her a royal maiden, Iphigenia....He dared the deed, slaying his child to help a war."
2. "Agamemnon, in Greek Mythology, was King of Mycenae, and a commander of the Greek forces in the Trojan War. When the Greeks had assembled at Aulis for their voyage to Troy they were held back by adverse winds. Agamemnon had killed one of Artemis' sacred hares and the young; she was angry with Agamemnon's arrogance, so she caused the winds to blow unceasingly. To punish Agamemnon, she required the sacrifice of his eldest daughter Iphigenia. "
1. ""Agamemnon sent a letter to Clytemnestra and their child, Iphigenia, asking them to come and join them at Aulis, where Iphigenia he said was going to be married to the great Achilles."
2. "He insulted the goddess Artemis by bragging that he was a better hunter than she and by killing a sacred hare. As punishment, Artemis caused the winds to blow so hard that the Greek fleet could not set sail."

1. "Agamemnon had been forewarned about the danger of returning home with Cassandra, yet his pride blinded him and he thought himself invinsible. He was vulnerable because he refused to listen to Cassandra, so Clytemnestra killed him."
2. Same as the second quote for B2
Clytemnestra, Queen of Mycenae, wife to Agamemnon, mother to Iphigenia, sister to Helen of Sparta

1. " She saw no reason to explain her act or excuse it. She was not a murderer in her own eyes, she was an executioner. She had punished and murdered the murderer of his own child."
2. "Dark red stains were on her dress, her hands, her face, yet she herself looked unshaken, strongly sure of herself...It was his blood that stained her dress and face and she was glad."
1: Same quote as b1
2: Same quote as b1
1. Same quote as b1
2. "Here lies my husband dead, struck down justly by my hand."
Sacrifice of Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra
1. "When she came to her wedding she was carried to the alter to be killed by her father."
2. "She would only send a favorable wind if the king propitiated her by offering up Iphigenia, the most beautiful of his daughters, as a sacrifice to the goddess."
1. Same as B1
2. "Iphigenia was a tragic heroine. She was the first person to have her life flipped upside down because of the Trojan War and it was her death which allowed the Greek fleet to set sail for Troy. Iphigenia was extremely brave and she is the reason why the entire war was able to continue."

1. same as b1

Journal #9 "Clytemnestra's Defense"

Do you agree with Clytemnestra's defense that "She is not a murderer but an executioner." According to Clytemnestra, Agamemnon deserved to be removed from the world because he possessed no likeable traits. He killed Cytemnestra's first husband, Tantalus, and their child. Then he proceeded to sacrifice Iphigenia to Artemis.

Is Clytemnestra's act justified? Consider the following abstract regarding the Greek play,"Agamemnon," by Euripides.

"Without a hint of shame, the Queen describes how she killed Agamemnon with an ax, after using a heavy net to trap him in his bath. She tells the Chorus that he was evil and deserved to die. They declare that she will be driven out of Mycenae and shunned by all men for her crime. She rebuffs their reproach by pointing out their hypocrisy; none of them protested when Agamemnon killed her innocent daughter, Iphigenia. The murder of her husband is justified, she insists, because it avenges his crime. Now Agamemnon can lie dead alongside Cassandra, who shared his bed."