After she killed her mother, Electra married and lived happily ever after. Or did she? Her fragile position in ancient Greek society - a woman with the male duty of revenge - epitomises the issues of power and gender which are the focus of this course.
Throughout antiquity, the great literary authors, all but one male, have dealt with
masculinity and femininity, have had their heroes elevate, worship and make love to women; but also have let them patronise, seduce and violate them.
By no means is the image of women in ancient literature necessarily a negative one. Penelope matches Odysseus in strength and wit; Antigone breaks the law, but she holds her honour high; and women would in an ideal state rule as equals to men. Question that arise, however, are: do these literary heroines reflect a social reality? What role did homosexuality play in society?
In antiquity, power, male or female, is not only expressed in the contents of literature, but also lies with its contemporary audience, whether a patron, an Athenian theatre crowd or the participants in a religious festivals. It comes to use through the intricately crafted literary techniques that ancient authors knew and applied. By using the social background of various texts as well as narrative and discourse analysis, we will delve into the dual web of gender and power that characterises so many literary works of classical antiquity, and reaches out to audiences to the present day.
Course outline ANTQ202(1).pdfCourse outline ANTQ202(1).pdf