Literature Requirement

Fall 2020

CLAS 20200 Rebels in Myth: From Antigone to the Joker
Aldo Tagliabue
TR 12:30-1:45
Section 01: Unallocated
Section 02: Freshmen
In the ancient world, both Greeks and Romans have strived to create order and peace in their society, and have used both religion and politics to achieve this goal. And yet, from the beginning of the Greek world to the rise of the Roman empire, order and peace were often considered obstacles to one's happiness and freedom. Ancient Greek and Roman myths often give voice to this unanswered desire for happiness and freedom. What is myth? A collection of traditional stories about the life of ancient gods, heroes, humans and monsters. This class will explore the myths of famous rebels, from Prometheus who challenges the divine order, to Antigone and Medea, both of whom publicly blame the male-centric Athenian society for not giving voice to women and foreigners, and, finally, to Socrates and Plato, who condemn the contemporary world for its contentment with appearances and disinterest in the truth. Since these rebels are still relevant to our society, the discussion of their stories will be combined with modern, contemporary renderings of the same myths, starting from the use of Prometheus as a metaphor for scientific progress (as in Scott's 2012 movie) and contemporary re-makings of Antigone and Medea's myths. Furthermore, the final weeks of this class will be devoted to the exploration of rebels in contemporary superheroes stories, such as The Joker and Green Goblin. In this way, it will be demonstrated that the function of myth as an expression of human rebellion and desire is universal.