Courses: Madness and Monstrosity in Greek Myths (WRPRH113B01)

Spring 2013

In this course we consider the role of madness in Greek mythology and Greek tragedy in particular. Why do the men and women of Greek mythology like Heracles and Cassandra suffer madness and why was this topic so frequently depicted in Greek tragedy? The origins of Greek tragedy lie in the worship of Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of ecstacy and intoxication. Dionysus embodies the ancient Greeks� attempts to understand the relationship between divine inspiration and madness. Some questions we shall explore are: Is madness ever a good thing? Why does madness feature so prominently in Greek mythology and especially Greek tragedy? What are the symptoms of madness? We focus on Greek tragedy from 5th century BCE Athens (e.g., Aeschylus� Agamemnon, Sophocles� Ajax, Euripides� Bacchae) with selections from other classical texts, such as Homer�s Iliad and Ovid�s Metamorphoses.

Prerequisites: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College writing.

Fulfills: HU FW Limit:15

Location

Haverford, Stokes 301

Meeting Times

TTh 10:00-11:30