1. “Are you so wise as to have forgotten that, compared with your mother and your father, and all the rest of your ancestors, your country is far more precious, more venerable, more sacred, and held in greater honor both among gods and among all reasonable men?” These lines from the Crito of Plato suggest a considerable change in Greek thought from the time of Homer to that of Plato. Trace the change.
2. Aeschylus is concerned with what forces order society, Sophocles is concerned with how humans react to those forces, and Euripides is concerned with questioning both their approaches. Agree or disagree with all or part of this statement. Argue your points with specific examples.
3. Aeschylus, in the Agamemnon, says, "Wisdom comes alone through suffering." And many of the figures we have examined have indeed suffered. But what have they learned? And what have we learned from them?
4. Andromache, Helen, Penelope, and Clytemnestra are absolutely central to The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Oresteia even though they are not the texts' main characters. What traits or tendencies (if any) do these women share? How do they enhance the central theme of their stories?
5. Based on readings, what do you deem to have been the most important cultural values of ancient Greek society? (For instance, what qualities characterized a “good” or “heroic” person? What qualities a “good” or “Noble” society?) Did those values change between Homer and Plato?
6. Boundaries, both physical and ethical, impose limits on man's behavior. Compare the consequences of transgressing boundaries in Herodotus' The Histories and Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War.
7. Character traits can be congenital, whence the old adage "Like father, like son." How are members of the younger generation reflections of the older generation in the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Oresteia, Antigone, and Herodotus' Histories?
8. Choose the one author we studied whose work, in your opinion, best represents the human experience, and defend that choice in the context of the rest of the works we have read.
10. Compare and contrast specific examples of the abuse of power. How does each author approach this theme?
11. Compare and contrast three parent-child relationships in Homer, Herodotus and Aeschylus. Your answer should make clear what you consider central about this theme.
12. Compare the acts of wild recklessness (atasthalia) committed by Achilleus and Odysseus. How do they both exhibit a loss of wisdom (sophrosyne)? How is their particular excellence (arete) related to their atasthalia?
13. Consider the theme of conflict between individual and society in the works we have read this term.
14. Discuss Achilleus' choice to avenge Patroklos' death. Do you think it noble, grand, and tragic or a useless gesture of a troubled adolescent?
15. Discuss Greek attitudes toward the dead.
16. Discuss how and why advice is heeded (or ignored) in The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Oresteia, and the Histories.
17. Discuss how Helen, Andromache, Penelope, Clytemnestra, Antigone, Arete, and Lysistrata are (or are not) victims of their positions as women in a patriarchal society.
18. Discuss the consequences of indulging in atasthalia (doing what you know is wrong even though you know there will be dire repercussions) in each of the following texts: The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Libation Bearers, The Bacchae, The Histories, The Peloponnesian War, and The Apology.
19. Discuss the intrusion of the gods in the affairs of men, noting the and perhaps explaining why that intrusion changes over time in each of the following texts: The Iliad, The Odyssey. The Eumenides, Oedipus the King, The Histories, The Peloponnesian War, and The Symposium.
20. Discuss the opposition between the rational and the irrational in the works we have read.
21. Discuss the relationship between the "Curse on the House of Atreus" and the action of The Oresteia. Is there a causal relationship here, or are all the explanations for actions simply rationalizations? Is that pattern repeated in any of the other works we have read?
22. Discuss the theme of advice and persuasion in Homer, Aeschylus, and Herodotus. Be careful to select examples efficiently in order to give a clear point to your essay.
23. Discuss the theme of kingship by examining the portrayals of the rulers Agamemnon, Odysseus, Creon, Oedipus, and Pentheus.
24. Discuss the theme of the individual vs. the collective in Greek thought. In your essay you might consider how the rebel is portrayed in Greek literature.
25. Discuss the use and misuse of sexuality in The Oresteia, Oedipus Tyrannous, The Bacchae, and Lysistrata.
26. Discuss the use of irony by Sophocles and Euripides in Oedipus the King and in Bacchae, and how it enhances our understanding of the main characters, and our appreciation of the plays.
27. Does anyone in The Oresteia have what Aristotle called hamartia, the tragic flaw? If so who is it, and how is that hamartia reflective of the action? Is hamartia common to all Greek tragedies?
28. Dreams function differently in the Illiad, the Odyssey, the Oresteia, and Herodotus. Discuss how and why.
29. Give a definition of Greek tragedy. Use one play from each of the three tragedians we have read.
30. Herodotus said "Let a man lay his plans with due regard to common sense, and he will usually succeed; otherwise he will find that God is unlikely to favor human designs." Apply the truth (or falsehood) of this statement to The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Oresteia, Oedipus Tyrannous, Antigone, The Bacchae, Lysistrata, and The Apology.
31. How does each of our authors define human happiness?
32. How would you characterize Greek religion? What is the function of gods in Greek culture?
33. In Euripides' The Bacchae, the chorus of Asian Bacchantes sings the following: "And what passes for wisdom is not; unwise are those who aspire, who outrange the limits of man. Briefly we live. Briefly, then die. Wherefore, I say, he who hunts a glory, he who tracks some boundless, superhuman dream, may lose his harvest here and now and garner death. Such men are mad, their counsels evil." Apply the meaning of these lines to each of the following characters: Achilleus, Odysseus, Clytemnestra, Oedipus, Pentheus, Xerxes, Pericles, and Socrates.
34. In some way the story or the character of Helen appears in the majority of the works we have read. Discuss the varying attitudes toward Helen and the Trojan War.
35. In the Apology, Socrates says, "In a court of law, just as in warfare, neither I nor any other ought to use his wits to escape death my any means." Using examples from The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Oresteia, Herodotus' Histories, and the works of Plato, show how a noble death is and/or is not preferred to an ignoble death.
36. In The Histories, Herodotus reports these words spoken by Solon of Athens to Croesus, King of Lydia: "Look to the end, no matter what it is you are considering. Often enough God gives man a glimpse of happiness, and then utterly ruins him." Solon is defining happiness for Croesus, and perhaps for all Greeks as well. Show how each of these characters comes to an end that Solon would describe as happy or unhappy: Achilleus, Odysseus, Orestes, Oedipus, Pentheus, Croesus, Pericles, and Socrates.
37. In the Iliad, Achilleus makes the choice to live a short life of glory on the battlefield before Troy, and in the Odyssey, Odysseus, for one reason or another, chooses to live a life wandering about away from home. But what about the feelings of the author? Explain why you think Homer agrees or disagrees with the choices each hero makes.
38. In the texts you have read, the gods serve different functions. For example, sometimes they share in causing human events; sometimes they sanction standards of behavior; sometimes they function as a mechanism to achieve specific narrative or thematic purposes. Choose two texts, and compare the way the gods function in each.
39. In the works we have read, choices have consequences. Select what you consider to be an important choice in Homer, Herodotus and Aeschylus, and discuss how each author deals with this theme.
40. In the works we have read, we have seen both glorifications and criticisms of Greek culture and society. According to these authors, what are the greatest virtues in Greek culture? What are the greatest vices?
41. In the works we have studied, what are the qualities of a virtuous man? Of a virtuous woman? Does the idea of virtue change as you pass from Homer to Plato?
42. Most of authors we have read use material from the Greek mythical tradition. What sort of freedom do they have within this tradition? How do they use this freedom? Give examples from specific works.
43. Most of the authors we have read use material from the Greek mythical tradition. What sort of flexibility do the authors have within this tradition? How do they use this freedom? Give examples from specific works.
44. Pallas Athena has appeared in The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Oresteia--in every work we’ve read so far. What is Athena’s function in those texts? Why is she a major figure in so many stories? How is her primary province as the Goddess of wisdom related to the fact that she is female?
45. Pick the work you liked least from our readings this term and draw up a list of reasons for your dislike. Become a Sophist for an hour, criticizing each of the reasons on your list.
46. Recognition plays a crucial role in the Odyssey, the Oresteia, and the Bacchae. How do Homer, Aeschylus and Euripides deal with this theme?
47. Revenge is a motive for action in the Odyssey, Herodotus’ Histories, and the Oresteia. What does each work imply about the wisdom of revenge? What alternatives, if any, are offered?
48. Select what you judge to be two or three good examples, and discuss how the theme of free will vs. fate is developed in Greek thought.
49. Solon says that a man can be called happy if he has just enough money to live comfortably, lives to see his children grow up, and dies peacefully. Show how the following figures are happy or unhappy: Achilleus, Odysseus, Oedipus, Pentheus, and Socrates.
50. The Iliad is full of violence and death. Discuss Homer's purpose in choosing war to serve as a backdrop to this examination of man and his choices.
51. The last twelve books of The Odyssey occur in mundane, everyday Ithaka, in distinct contrast to the roving adventure of the first twelve books. What are the relationships between the two halves of the narrative?
52. The works we have read do not always narrate events in a simple chronological and causal order, but rearrange them, by flashback, allusion, and other narrative devices. Discuss an example of such reorganization, making clear how it works, and what purpose are served by it.
53. Though it is a broad generalization, the comment is often made that classical Greek culture marks the birth of the rational in Western civilization. Based on the works we have read, how is this true? How is it untrue?
54. Using examples from at least three authors, discuss corruption of language as a symptom of corruption in society.
55. Violence is a prominent feature of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Oresteia. Drawing from the evidence contained in these texts, do you think that these works promote violence and/or indicate that the Greeks were a fundamentally bloodthirsty people?
56. What are the functions of oracles and dreams in Greek culture and literature?
57. What does Aias say when he tries to convince Achilleus to return to battle, and how does Achilleus answer?
58. What have read works of epic poetry, history, tragedy, comedy, and philosophical dialogue? What goals and features do these various genres have in common? Aside from obvious differences in literary form, how do these genres differ?
59. What is a Great Book? How well do the texts we have read this term fit that definition/description?
60. What is the role of the Chorus in any (or all) of the plays we have read? How do their statements affect our comprehension of the play?
61. What is xenia and how is it manifested in Greek literature?
62. Work out a definition of the ideal of human excellence as presented in the books we have read.
63. Work out the conflict (or the relationship) between PHYSIS (nature) and NOMOS (law and custom) in each of the works we have read.
64. Write an essay on how epic, history, and tragedy make meaning. Discuss similarities and differences.
1. According to Sarpedon, king of the Lykians, why do the Greek and Trojan heroes risk fighting at the forefront of the battle?
2. Choose any single book of The Iliad and discuss its contribution to the overall pattern of the work.
3. Compare the Achilleus of Book I with the Achilleus of Book XXIV. Do you think he is the same, or has he changed?
4. Discuss Achilleus' choice to avenge Patroklos' death. Do you think it noble, grand, and tragic or a useless gesture of a troubled adolescent?
5. Discuss Homer's attitude toward Helen, Paris, and Menelaos. Does Homer place the blame for the action of The Iliad on anyone and thereby take sides?
6. Discuss the relationship between "the will of Zeus" or the "will of the Gods" and the choices of action men take in The Iliad.
7. Discuss the role of women in The Iliad. Be sure to include Hekabe, Andromache, and the Goddesses in your discussion.
8. Do the Trojan elders think Helen is worth fighting a war for?
9. Do you think the Greeks reacted appropriately or inappropriately to the "abduction" of Helen?
10. Given Paris' choice of unlimited wealth, power, or sexual pleasure, which would you choose and why?
11. How and why does Athena cause the truce between the Achaians and the Trojans to be broken at the beginning of Book 4, and why does she choose Pandaros to do her bidding?
12. How are Agamemnon and Achilleus reconciled?
13. How are similes used stylistically and thematically in The Iliad?
14. How does Aphrodite use her sexuality as a weapon to get what she wants?
15. How does Hektor's body get back inside the walls of Troy so that he can be buried?
16. How does Hera direct Zeus’ attention away from the battlefield at Troy so that Poseidon can help the Greeks?
17. How does Hera respond to Thetis’ request that Zeus grant Achilleus’ request to pin the Achaians back against the ships dying, and what does that incident tell you about the Gods?
19. How does Hera use her sexuality as a weapon to get what she wants?
20. How does Sarpedon, king of the Lykians and son of Zeus, die? And how does Zeus react to his son's death? What does that tell you about Zeus?
21. How does the single combat between Aias and Hektor end, and what does that entire episode tell you about Aias and Hektor?
23. How does the single combat between Paris and Menelaos end, and what does that entire episode tell you about Paris?
24. How does the story of Dolon in Book 10 relate to the rest of The Iliad?
25. In Book XXIII Achilleus presides over a number of contests during the funeral games for Patroklos. At the end of each contest Achilleus gives a prize to the winner. Do you think that is the same Achilleus that quarreled with Agamemnon in the first Book? What has Achilleus learned?
26. In The Iliad, is Nestor just a tedious old fool, or is he boring people on purpose?
27. Is Briseis really the “bride of his heart” as Achilleus claims?
28. Should Achilleus have not listened to Athena and killed Agamemnon anyway at the assembly in Book I?
29. The Iliad has been called the first great tragedy. Discuss the truth or falsehood of this statement.
30. The Iliad is full of violence and death. Discuss Homer's purpose in choosing war to serve as a backdrop to this examination of man and his choices.
31. What do we learn about Achilleus from the way he acts during the funeral games for Patroklos?
32. What do you learn about Diomedes from the way he acts in Books 5 through 8?
33. What do you make of the Gods from the glimpse of Olympus at the end of Book 1 of The Iliad?
34. What does Agamemnon offer Achilleus if Achilleus will return to battle in Book XI? What do you learn about Agamemnon from that episode?
35. What does Aias say when he tries to persuade Achilleus to return to battle in Book 9, and why does Achilleus react the way he does?
36. What does Hektor promise that prompts Dolon to try to spy on the Greek encampment?
37. What does Odysseus say when he tries to convince Achilleus to return to battle in Book 9 (the embassy), and how does Achilleus answer him?
38. What does Phoinix say when he tries to convince Achilleus to return to battle in Book 9 (the embassy), and how does Achilleus answer?
39. What does the battle between Menelaos and Paris in Book 3 tell you about both of those men?
40. What is on the new shield that Achilleus gets from his mother, and why do you think that extensive word-picture might be important to the themes of The Iliad?
42. When Diomedes meets the Trojan Glaukos, instead of fighting, they talk for a while and then exchange armor. Why? And what does the incident tell you about Diomedes?
43. Which of the three emissaries (Odysseus, Phoinix, Aias) makes the most persuasive argument to Achilleus to return to battle?
44. Who do you think is a more courageous man, Priam or Achilleus?
45. Who gives Achilleus his new golden armor, and what happened to his old armor?
46. Who is Astyanax, and why is he important in the events of Book 6?
47. Who is Diomedes, and why is he important?
48. Who wins the chariot race at Patroklos’ funeral games, and what does that episode tell you about Achilleus?
49. Why do Sarpedon and Glaukos fight at Troy, even though they are not Trojans, but Lykians?
50. Why does Achilleus reject Agamemnon's offer?
51. Why does Agamemnon promise a great number of gifts for Achilleus in Bk. 9 of The Iliad?
52. Why does Agamemnon refuse the priest Chryses when he comes to Agamemnon as a suppliant?
53. Why does Andromache tell Hektor that Hektor is her father, mother, brother, and young husband?
54. Why does Athena choose Pandaros as the one to break the truce in Book 4 rather than Hektor or Aineias or Antenor?
55. Why does Hektor stand and face Achilleus? Does his action enforce of deny the martial code before the walls of Troy? Are Hektor and Achilleus alike in any way?
56. Why does Zeus send a dream to Agamemnon at the beginning of Book 2 of The Iliad?
57. Women do not have a central role in the action of The Iliad, but no one would suggest that the Homeric world could exist without them. Briefly suggest what you think are the salient contributions made by Briseis, Helen, and Andromache in The Iliad.
58. In what four ways does Agamemnon insult Chryses?
1. Compare Odysseus' many false wives (Nausikaa, Circe, Calypso, etc) with Penelope.
2. Compare Odysseus' success as roving Achaian pirate and great warrior with his success as the husband of Penelope.
3. Do all the suitors deserve to die, or is this just a case of primitive Greek barbarianism, bereft of the benefits of civilization as we know it?
4. Early on in The Odyssey we know that Odysseus will be successful in recovering his home. Why doesn't Homer care to keep us in suspense?
5. How are the women of The Iliad different from the women of The Odyssey?
6. How do the stories of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, and Aigisthos and of Hephaistos, Aphrodite, and Ares relate to the story of Odysseus?
7. How does Nestor figure in the Odyssey, and why might his appearance be important?
8. How does Odysseus avoid eating the cattle of the sun?
9. How does Odysseus get off of Kalypso's island, and why is that event significant?
10. How does Odysseus get to the island of the Cyclops, and why does he go there?
11. How does Odysseus meet Nausikaa? Why is that meeting important?
12. How does The Odyssey end? What does the ending tell you about Odysseus' essential nature?
13. How does the old maid Eurykleia recognize Odysseus?
14. How is disguise a major motif in The Odyssey? How is disguise related to identity?
15. How is Odysseus like the Lotus-eaters?
16. How is Telemachos like his father?
17. How is the great bow finally passed to Odysseus' hands? How does that bow relate to identity?
18. How is the joke played upon the Cyclops related to Odysseus' identity?
19. How long does Odysseus stay with Circe, and why does he leave her island?
20. Is Odysseus a good sailor? Why can't he ever get where he seems to want to go?
21. Is the Odysseus of The Iliad the same as the Odysseus of The Odyssey?
22. Long before Odysseus meets the suitors, we are aware that he will be successful in recovering his home. Why doesn't Homer care to keep us in suspense?
23. The last twelve books of The Odyssey occur in mundane, everyday Ithaka, in distinct contrast to the roving adventure of the first twelve books. What are the relationships between the two halves of the narrative?
24. What do you learn about the suitors from their reactions to Odysseus’ battle with the beggar Iros? What do you learn about Odysseus himself?
25. What does "Odysseus" mean? How did Odysseus come by his name?
26. What does Homer accomplish by having Odysseus visit the Land of the Dead?
27. What does Kalypso offer Odysseus if he will stay with her on the island, and why does Odysseus refuse it?
28. What does Telemachos learn about his father from Menelaos and Helen, and why is it important?
29. What is Athena's role in The Odyssey? Would Odysseus be successful without her?
30. What is special about Odysseus’ bed?
31. What is the role of artistic creation in The Odyssey? Consider Demodokos, Pheimos, weaving, and fashioning with tools and with words in your answer.
32. Who do you think has the upper hand in their relationship, Penelope or Odysseus? Why do you think so?
33. Who is Alkinoos, and why is he important?
34. Who is Arete and why is she important?
35. Who is Demodokos and why is he important?
36. Who is Eumaios, and why is he important?
37. Who is Iros and why is he important?
38. Who is Nausikaa, and why is she important?
39. Why do we follow the adventures of Telemachos for the first four books of The Odyssey?
40. Why does Odysseus go to the Land of the Dead, and what does he learn there?
41. Why does Odysseus prefer Penelope to Calypso?
42. Why does Odysseus wait in the cave for the Cyclops to come?
43. Why does Telemachos visit Helen and Menelaos, and why is that episode significant?
44. Why is Odysseus' scar important?
1. According to the Prologue to The Eumenides, how is civilization itself tied to patriarchy?
2. How are the Eumenides representative of chthonic deities?
3. How does Apollo assert his power of patriarchal parentage over the Furies?
4. How does Electra recognize her brother Orestes in The Libation Bearers?
5. How is Clytemnestra a woman who is androboulous, (plots like a man)?
6. How is the death of Iphigeneia both a proper and an improper sacrifice?
7. How is The Libation Bearers a re-enactment of the events in the Agamemnon?
8. In The Eumenides, which group has the better claim to justice: the male Apollo and his male reliance on reason, or the female furies and their insistence on emotions, family ties, and the sanctity of motherhood? (You might consider including Agamemnon, Orestes, Clytemnestra, Electra, and the three choruses [one male and two female] in your discussion).
9. In the Libation Bearers, where has Orestes been, whom does he bring back with him, and why is it important for the play?
10. Recount the dream Clytaemnestra has in The Libation Bearers, and explain its point.
11. What are Clytaemnestra’s reasons for killing Agamemnon?
12. What are the attributes of the chthonic gods in The Oresteia?
13. What are the reasons Clytemnestra gives to justify her murder of Agamemnon? What do you think of those reasons? Is she justified?
14. What does Cassandra tell the chorus, and why do they fail to understand?
15. What happened to Iphigeneia, and why is that event important?
16. What is a libation, and what is the importance of libations in The Libation Bearers?
17. What is the function of the Chorus in The Libation Bearers? In The Eumenides?
18. When does Aigisthos appear in The Agamemnon? Why is that late entrance important?
19. When does Pylades speak, and why is it important?
20. Who is androboulous (plots like a man) in The Agamemnon?
21. Who makes up the Chorus in The Libation Bearers, and what do they want to happen?
22. Why are nets important in the Oresteia?
23. Why does Agamemnon sacrifice Iphigeneia?
24. Why does Cassandra walk willingly to her death in the Agamemnon?
25. Why does Clytemnestra kill Agamemnon?
26. Why does Orestes kill Clytemnestra?
27. Why don't the Furies pursue Clytemnestra for the murder of Agamemnon?
28. With how many ships did Agamemnon return from Troy? What happened to the rest?
1. Compare Themistocles with Odysseus. Why should such a comparison be made?
2. Define the following Greek terms: xenia, atasthalia, koros, hybris, nemesis.
3. Discuss the notions and institutions of justice portrayed in the Herodotus. Do different types of justice conflict?
4. How do the Greeks manage to win the battle of Salamis?
5. How do the Persians finally get by the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae?
6. How does Themistocles persuade the Greeks to fight at Salamis?
7. How is Leonidas like Tellus of Athens?
8. Show how geographical boundaries correspond to the perimeters for human conduct. In this regard, think about Xerxes' behavior at the Hellespont.
9. The opening lines of the Iliad and Odyssey provide the reader with crucial information regarding the themes of the poems. Does Herodotus do something similar with his first few sentences? What does he introduce in his first paragraphs that becomes important later?
10. The Persian invasion of Greece is a mass historical movement. How does Herodotus get this across to us? In spite of that, how do individuals make a difference?
11. What advice does Artabanus, the advisor to Xerxes, give to Xerxes before he decides to invade Greece?
12. What advice does Croesus give to Cyrus before the Persians fight the Massagetae?
13. What advice does Sandanis, the advisor to Creosos, give to Creosos before he decides to invade Persia?
14. What are the functions of oracles and dreams in Herodotus' Histories?
15. What are the qualities of a virtuous man according to Herodotus? Of a virtuous woman?
16. What conclusions can we draw about Herodotus' views of historical cause from the scene of the immolation of Croesus?
17. What did the Delphic Oracle Mean when she referred to “the wooden walls” and why is that important?
18. What does Herodotus mean by his opposition of these contrasting pairs: wealth and poverty, freedom and slavery, naive rusticity and cosmopolitan elegance
19. What happened at Candaules, the king of Lydia five generations before Croesus?
20. What role does Artemisia play in the Battle of Salamis?
21. Who saves Croesus from burning on the pyre, and why?
22. Why did Leonidas stay at Thermopylae?
23. Why does Herodotus begin his history with Croesus? What historical and moralistic themes does the story of Croesus exemplify? How is Herodotus fulfilling the expectations we have from his introductory remarks?
24. Why does the Spartan general Pausanias order a meal after the battle of Plataea?
25. Why does Xerxes invade Greece?
26. Why shouldn't Croesus cross the Halys River?
1. Does Oedipus have what Aristotle called hamartia, the tragic flaw? If so, how is that hamartia reflective of the action?
2. Explain the significance of the following passage from the Oedipus Tyrannous: In name he is a stranger among citizens but soon he will be shown to be a citizen true native Theban, and he’ll have no joy of the discovery; blindness for sight and beggary for riches his exchange, he shall go journeying to a foreign country tapping his way before him with a stick.
3. Explain the significance of the following passage from the Oedipus Tyrannous: King Phoebus in plain words commanded us to drive out a pollution from our land, pollution grown ingrained within the land; drive it out, said the God, not cherish it, till it’s past cure.
4. How is Oedipus like and unlike Teiresias?
5. Why does Oedipus send for Teiresias?
6. Is Oedipus a hero or does he have any heroic characteristics? Does he have any values worth emulating? If you were a Theban, would you want Oedipus to be your king?
7. Oedipus Tyrannous lacks any surprise or revelations in it’s action -- the audience knows all that has happened before the play begins, and most of the plays incidents are spurred by actions that have occurred in the past. What is (are) the relationship(s) between these past actions and what happens on stage? Has the past “caused” the present?
8. What are the various meanings and/or puns surrounding the name "Oedipus"?
9. What do you learn about Jocasta from the way she interacts with Oedipus?
10. What do you learn about Oedipus from the way he interacts with Teiresias?
11. What does blindness mean in the Oedipus Tyrannous? How is it a major thematic image in the play?
12. What does Jocasta think of oracular utterances?
13. What does Oedipus blind himself with?
14. What does the messenger from Corinth know about Oedipus that Oedipus does not?
15. What is dramatic irony, and how does it affect our understanding of the play?
16. What is the difference between a Tyrannous and a Basileous? How do those terms apply to Oedipus?
17. What is the relationship between dramatic irony and self-knowledge? We always “know” more about Oedipus than he knows about himself. How then, does the play show a relation between the problem of “knowing oneself” and what is “true” in the world beyond oneself?
18. What oracle was given to Laius, king of Thebes before Oedipus?
19. What three oracles figure in the Oedipus?
20. What warnings does Creon receive to temper the severity of his edict?
21. Why did Oedipus leave Corinth?
22. Why didn't Oedipus go home to Corinth after consulting the Oracle at Delphi?
23. Why does Jocasta sacrifice to the Gods in the middle of Oedipus the King?
24. Why does Oedipus accuse Creon of treason in Oedipus?
25. Why does Oedipus accuse Creon of treason in the Oedipus?
26. Why does Oedipus send for Teiresias?
27. Why doesn't Creon want to be King of Thebes?
28. Why is the identity of the messenger who brings Oedipus news of Polybus’s death significant?
29. Why is there no Oedipus complex in the Oedipus
1. Do you think Dionysus is a righteous and just God? Why or Why not?
2. Do you think Pentheus is a good ruler? Why or Why not?
3. Does Pentheus commit acts of atasthalia (doing what you know is wrong even though you know there will be dire repercussions)?
4. Does The Bacchae present us with a notion of cosmic justice?
5. How are Pentheus and Dionysos like/unlike each other?
6. If wisdom comes through suffering in The Bacchae, who suffers and learns?
7. In The Bacchae, the chorus sings the following: What is wisdom? What gift of the gods is held in honor like this: To hold your hand victorious over the heads of those you hate. Is that wisdom?
8. Using evidence from The Bacchae, show why the following saying is true of Pentheus: You do not know the limits of your strength. You do not know what you do. You do not know who you are
9. What is Agave's crime in The Bacchae, and how is it related to Pentheus' crime?
10. What is the role of the Chorus in The Bacchae? How do their statements affect our comprehension of the play?
11. Who are the Bacchae? What do they want?
12. Who punished Cadmus and why?
13. Why do Cadmus and Teiresias dance?
14. Why does Pentheus want to see the Bacchantes?
1. Could the solution proposed by Lysistrata ever really work?
2. How does Lysistrata convince the rest of the women in Athens to follow her plan of action?
3. How does Lysistrata end? What is the significance of the ending?
4. How is Lysistrata both a character and a symbol?
5. What elements in the Lysistrata make it a structural comedy?
6. What happens to Peace at the end of Lysistrata, and why is she female?
7. Why does the male chorus carry pots of fire in Lysistrata, and what does the female chorus carry?
1. According to Thucydides, what happens to language during times of great stress like the Corcyrean revolution?
2. According to Thucydides, what three things does a city need to become great?
3. How did the Delian League come into existence, and why was it centered in Athens?
4. How do Pausanias and Themistocles meet their ends, and why is Thucydides interested?
5. How is Plataea like and unlike Mytilene?
6. What are the crucial economic and political developments that led to the Peloponnesian War?
7. What happens at Melos, and why is it important?
8. What happens at Mytilene, and why is it important?
9. What happens at Plataea, and why is it important?
10. What happens to the cities of Mytilene, Plataea, and Melos during the Peloponnesian War?
11. What Periclean policy further aggravated the devastating effects of the plague of Athens?
12. Who is Pericles, and why is he important?
13. Why are Pericles’s funeral oration and the description of the plague juxtaposed in The Peloponnesian War?
14. Why did the Athenians vote to accept Corcyra into the Delian League?
15. Why does Thucydides present us with paired speeches in The Peloponnesian War?
16. Why is the funeral speech of Pericles important in The Peloponnesian War?
17. You are either a Mytilenian, a Plataean, or a Melian. Write a speech that will persuade the power camped outside your walls not to eradicate your city.
1. How is Socrates like a daimon?
2. Summarize the relationship between form and matter
3. Summarize the speech of Aristophanes in Plato's Symposium
4. What does "Agathon" mean, and why is that meaning central to The Symposium?
5. What is the origin of love according to Aristophanes in the Symposium?
6. What is the role of Alcibiades in The Symposium?
7. Who do you think best defines the concept of love in the Symposium, and why?
8. Who stays awake longest during The Symposium and what does that fact signify
1. According to the Allegory of the Cave, what is truth/reality, and what does that have to do with the soul?
2. How does Socrates defend himself against the charge of “corrupting the youth of Athens?”
3. Is Socrates guilty of the charges brought against him?
4. Summarize and evaluate the formal accusations made against Socrates in The Apology.
5. What does Socrates propose as his proper punishment, and why does he make such proposals?
6. What is the relationship between body and soul according to Plato?
7. What is the Theory of Opposites, and how does that relate to the immortality of the soul?
8. Why does Socrates propose that his punishment should be complete support by the state after he is found guilty?
9. Why doesn't Socrates flee from jail after he is sentenced to death?