Week 13 Journal entry
Hours 0–1.5: In class
Thursday, November 15, 11–12:30 pm
In class today, we made a mock trial of media and the ghost of Jason to determine who is to blame for the death of their children. This simulation demonstrated the aspects of the Grecian Judicial system. Our basis for evaluation included the excerpts from Medea in the textbook. Throughout the trial, it was evident that Medea felt that Jason was more so to blame for the death of the children because of the way that he treated her, however the act of killing the children was carried out by Medea. The obvious decision was to blame Medea for her murderous overreaction, but it was interesting to consider Jason’s mistreatment of Medea. Our debate ended with a startling rebuttal that Medea was emotionally unstable before she agreed to marry Jason.
Hours 1.5–3: At home
Monday, November 19, 8–11 pm
Read Apollonius’ Argonautica, Book Three
While reading book 3 of the Argonautica, I became particularly interested in the descriptions and emphasis on Eros and Ganymedes in the blooming orchard of Zeus. Cyprus found Eros with Ganymedes and she noticed how he was enamoured with his beauty. I was particularly interested in this scene because Zeus decreed that three women would be unaffected by love, but I did not consider that Eros, the central deity for the affliction of love was capable of falling victim to love and lust. This section’s primary focus was on the love of Jason and Medea, however it introduced the love between Eros and Ganymedes and the relationship between Cyprus and Eros before demonstrating how Medea falls in love with Jason.
Hours 3–6 At home
Monday, November 26 5–8 pm
What is happiness? Read the Hero’s Quest p. 543–582.
How much of a “trickster figure” is Odysseus (compare our chapter on Hermes)?
Seeing as Odysseus is a descendant of Hermes and a distant descendant of Zeus, his title as a trickster figure is fitting. Hermes, the original and most well known trickster figure was known for his theft of Apollo’s cattle. Similarly, Odysseus was able to deceive Circe, Polyphemus, and the entirety of the Trojan nation all for his benefit. These actions are evidence for his title as Polytropos. The title of Polytropos is not however, attributed only for his character as a trickster. Odysseus is known for his skill to act as whatever character and put on whichever personality that was needed for the situation. These are additional characteristics of a trickster figure. These characteristics are die to Odysseus’s practical thinking and his passive intelligence that allows him to think and adapt before speaking. This mindset helps him trick his adversaries and also make him a complex and thoughtful hero.
Odysseus’s title of Polytropos came from his shape-shifting abilities and at his adept techniques of disguise. According to the text, Odysseus is fortunate to have been given the talents of shipbuilding, farming, athleticism, and war technique. With this plethora of talents and gifts at his disposal, Odysseus is able to disguise himself and trick his enemies at will. In the Trojan war, Odysseus’s quick thinking and intelligent plan to construct the Trojan horse made a deciding victory against the Trojans and helped Greece win the war. By tricking his enemies, Odysseus lived up to his trickster status.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a figure in society?
Trickster Figures are intent on preserving or improving on their home culture. Like a Psychopath, the trickster often mocks social norms and disrupt the preconceived notions of normal life. However, this disruption is typically followed by an action dedicated to mending their discretion and benefiting normal life. This was the case of Maui in Moana, where he initially tricked Te Fiti and stole her heart, but then returned her heart and saved the death that was enveloping Moana’s island. By Tricking Te FIti, Maui disrupted the normal relationship with the Gods and mortals because Te Fiti then cursed the nearby islands. This was a negative consequence of the trickster figure Maui. Afterwards with the help of Moana, Maui realized the consequences of his actions and then set off on a journey to replace Te Fiti’s heart and save Moana’s island. By doing so, Maui rid the world of Te Kaa, helped Moana’s tribe return to their seafaring ways, and his morals grew as a diety.
In many ways, Odysseus was labeled as a trickster figure during his trip back from the Trojan war. He disrupted normal relationships and thwarted several villains along the way such as Polyphemus, Circe, and his wife’s suitors. When Odysseus encountered the cyclops Polyphemus, the cyclops attempted to eat the crewmen regardless of their pleas for mercy. It was highly likely that Polyphemus would continue to devour wayward travelers and take several more lives. Whether to protect the remaining members of his crew or to end Polyphemus’s reign of terror, Odysseus disrupted him and saved his crewmen. By blinding Polyphemus, Odysseus made it more difficult for him to see and kill more people. Because of this, their society has become safer for travelers because they do not have less of a fear of being devoured by Polyphemus.
Later on, when he returned to Ithaca to be reunited with his wife and home, Odysseus puts on the disguise of a simple beggar and feeds from the plates of the greedy suitors. This enrages them and invokes their negative character. Some might say that these suitors were disrupting the household of Odysseus prior to his arrival, however Odysseus’s role as a trickster disrupted whichever situation was present before his arrival when he disguised himself as a beggar and killed all of the suitors. The consequences of this event was that Odysseus took the lives of the suitors who many of which were members of the nearby society. An advantage resulting from his actions was his reunion with Penelope, the reunion with his son, and the restoration of his household.
The mischievous actions and disruptive events that the trickster invokes are the main disadvantages that they cause to society. While they often times heroically preserve the culture of society and evoke instrumental change to society, they often times wreak havoc or cause destructive events on the civilization.
Hours 6–9 At Home
Thursday, November 29, 9–12 am
The Hero’s Quest
How does a human life (or a portion of a human life) resemble a quest? How is college life like a quest, for example?
College life is in many ways similar to a quest. Like all quests, college students set out on a journey to gain an education in the particular field that they are studying. This journey is not easily achieved, otherwise almost every person would gain a college education. The challenges that college students face include financial support, difficulty in certain subjects, homesickness, independence, and maintenance of grades alongside more personal complications. These complications form the main conflict for the college student’s quest. The goal of the student is to graduate from the college in a timely manner with a degree of their interest. This goal is not easily to achieve and many people fall short, that is why this college life is similar to a quest: the goal is a difficult journey. While the quest-er will face several trials and tribulations over the course of the quest, the student will also be tested both figuratively and literally.
Is it possible to structure one’s life like a quest? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?
It is possible to structure events in your life like a quest, such as setting goals for yourself when setting out on a journey. I do not however, believe that one can structure their entire life like a quest. There will be several periods where a person is not aspiring to achieve a certain goal. There will also be periods where a person has adjusted or set new goals that conflict with their initial goal. In this way, they will be diverting from their initial quest. In theory, a person may structure their life on a journey to achieve happiness, success, or another metaphorical mentality. In this way, they may be able to structure their life into a quest for that specific mentality, however to place specific goals at the end of a person’s lifelong quest may be extremely difficult or in some cases, impossible.
For example, If a person makes it their lifelong goal to buy a mansion, they may become impoverished, or encounter financial difficulties that make it only feasible for them to own a small apartment. I am not claiming that setting more literal or physical goals are extremely rare and difficult to maintain. I only suggest that setting more moral or emotional goals will be more easily attained.
The advantages of structuring one’s life like a quest is that they will be more inclined to be focused on their goals, more perceptive of distractions, and more organized and attentive with their life. To structure one’s life like a quest means to establish a place to go or something to achieve. Doing this will make it known what that person aspires to achieve in their lifetime.
The disadvantages of structuring your life like a quest is that you may become too heavily invested in the goal. This could lead to the sacrifice of other possible beneficial goals if they conflict with the initial goal. For example, a student aspiring to be an electrical engineer might ignore all distractions or diversions from electrical engineering and may ignore a field that they could enjoy significantly. That same person might be a phenomenal mechanical engineer, however because they devoted all of their time to studying electrical engineering, they would never reach their full potential. Their devotion to one specific goal set them at a disadvantage. Therefore, one disadvantage of structuring one’s life like a quest is the destructive habit of limiting yourself to a single goal.