Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where are we going?

The Metamorphoses is now more than 2000 years old but here we are in the year 2009 reading Ovid’s work proving once again that “All that is past possesses the present.” Proving this point with more emphasis is the book An Imaginary Life, because the book takes a really event, that is somewhat of a mystery still, and makes it into an imagined tale of events. The writer, Malouf, seems to be conscious of the fact that Ovid knew that his poetry would still be read today. Malouf’s book takes a fictional look into Ovid’s life after exile. Malouf being aware that readers still read Metamorphoses he wrote, “I cast this letter upon the centuries, uncertain in what landscape of unfamiliar objects it may come to light, and with what eyes you will read it. Is Latin still known to you?”(18). The past becomes the present for us, every time we read the past becomes the present. Of all the things we have read we seem to have many reoccurring themes popping up. In Euripides’ Iphigeneia at Aulis we see Agamemnon have his own daughter killed just for the pride of his brother and people. In An Imaginary Life we can observe these lines: “After a century of war in which whole families had destroyed one another in the name of patriotism” (25). Certainly the vision of young Iphigeneia’s death pops into my mind while reading these lines.
In class we have been passing around a rock so that we can begin to love, so that we can begin to learn how to love. We must begin at the bottom rung of the latter in order to make our way up the latter of love. Malouf recognizes this simple idea and he writes about in his book. “Embrace the tree trunk and feel the spirit flow back into you, feel the warmth of the stone enter your body,…” (28). Malouf talks about loving the tree the rock and later on he even talks about loving the clouds. He seemingly makes this a turning point in Ovid’s life in exile, when he finally finds himself. Much later in the novel Ovid tries to feel as the young wild boy must feel. “I try to think as he must: I am raining, I am thundering, and I am immediately struck with panic,…”(96). The reason Ovid is struck with panic in this scene is because he is worried about losing control of his soul. It is his soul that he saves by capturing the young, he recaptured his childhood that he lost at his brother’s death. And it is his soul and the soul of the child that accompany him to the other side of the river (the river in the underworld).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What are the odds?

I'm sure by now we are all well acquainted with this question in class. As I reflected on the question I began to think back to Iphigeneia at Aulis. What really got me thinking was something my father said to me. My dad was born in Miles City and on Monday as I left class I got a text message from my sister telling me that Miles City was on fire, a whole block had gone up in flames. I called my dad and he said, "wow what are the odds of that?" I obviously answered one-in-three. He quickly dismissed my answer and started pondering what string of events could have set the fire in motion. Actually I believe his exact words were, "huh, I wonder how it started." Well regardless that got me thinking about the string of events that happened so fatefully in Iphigeneia at Aulis: Agamemnon sends a messenger to tell his wife that the wedding plans were no longer so that she didn't have to be killed, but as fate would have it Menelaos stops the old man from delivering the message and his daughter Iphigeneia comes anyway. Little did Agamemnon know that he was killing himself and his wife in the process. Later his wife kills him for allowing their daughter to be sacrificed and after that his son murders his mother to avenge his father's death. Wow what a turn of events. So I wonder how that fire started, or how anything for that matter happens? Is it fate that drives our vehicles of life? How many times have people looked back and wished they had done something else, even something very minute, sometimes it's the small things that really count.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Passionate Battle

The other day I was cruising through blogs when I came across Shoni's blog where she seemed to be rather disturbed by idea of older men having sexual relationships with young boys. Agreeably so I began to think about how I believed I had learned at one point in my life that some of the Greek army was comprised of homosexual men because of the belief that people will fight more vigorously for their lover. I found this idea to be rather ingenious and probably true in theory. So I approached Professor Sexson and asked him if my memory served me correctly, and of course he told me to go and look it up; so I did. Here is what I have found from there was a group or division of the army call the sacred Band of Thebes which was reserved for men and their youth lovers because of the before mentioned theory of a more passionate fighter.