Write an essay of between 1500 and 2000 words arguing for a position on one of
the topics listed below.
Plan your argument around a central thesis that is supported by evidence from
the relevant texts. Note that your thesis should not be merely a rephrasing of the
question as a statement; the thesis should be a specific and detailed answer to
Give your essay a title that indicates something about its content. Note that the
questions below are NOT themselves titles, and they should not be used as if they
Observe these conventions when citing sources: for Hesiod’s Theogony, use the
parenthetical system and refer to line numbers (for example, Hes. Theog. 34-48);
for the Homeric Hymns, use the parenthetical system and refer to page numbers
within Anthology of Classical Myth (for example, Hom. Hymn. Herm 191); for the
tragedies, use the parenthetical system and refer to line numbers (for examples,
Aesch. Ag. 5-77; Aesch. Lib. 5-77, Aesch. Fur. 5-77, Soph. OT 133-190, Eur. Bacch.
431-500). Treat the content of lectures as common knowledge in the discipline,
unless the professor specifically cites another scholar as the source of a particular
Include a bibliography or list of works cited, following APA styles
INDEX OF FORBIDDEN & DAMNABLE ERRORS:
• sentence fragments
• errors with apostrophes (especially when indicating possession or plurals).
• comma splices (or other offenses with commas)
• run-on or fused sentences
• misuse of the semicolon
• “dropped” quotations (i.e., quotations not introduced with a signal phrase or
punctuation and thus not integrated them into your own text)
• papers not properly formatted in all parts (e.g., line spacing, text, page
numbers, footnotes/citations, bibliography/works cited) according to APA,
MLA, or Chicago style.
• titles of books and plays not in italics
• poetic quotations improperly formatted. (When quoting a short poetic passage
in your prose paragraph, separate the poetic lines with a slash /. For
quotations of more than four lines, use block style without quotation marks
or slashes.) Consult the Checkmate Pocket Guide if you are in doubt about
any of the following areas.
Choose one. Your answer to most of the following questions should take
into account the full works, not just a specific episode or subsection.
How does the love affair of Dido and Aeneas fit into the vision of cosmic
order Virgil reveals throughout the whole epic? What, according to
Virgil, is Dido's "guilt" (“fault,” “sin,” culpa)? Is Aeneas’ claim that he
sails for Italy not of his own will a satisfactory response to Dido’s
complaint against him?
Virgil’s debt to Homer is clearly evident in his portrayal of Aeneas, whose
experiences parallel those of Odysseus at many points in the
narrative. Yet there are significant differences between the Greek
hero’s character and the Roman’s. What does Aeneas learn about
himself, what do we learn about the nature of his specifically Roman
heroism, through the course of the Aeneid? How do Aeneas’ fatum
to found a new city and Odysseus’ nostos contrast?
3. The “Iliadic” Aeneid (Books VII-XII) have always been less popular than the
“Odyssean” Aeneid (Books I-VI). Yet Books VII-XII depict the first stages of
Trojan settlement in Italy, the place from which the Roman people is fated
to rule the world. How does Aeneas’ experience in the second half of the
epic compare with his experience in the first half? What does the second
half of the work teach Aeneas (and Virgil's readers) about the character of
the Roman people?
4. Is Virgil’s presentation of the Greeks in Book II of the Aeneid fully representative
of the Roman attitude to Greek culture? Is there other evidence in the
poem of a more ambivalent attitude? How does Virgil’s representation of
Greek culture in general in the Aeneid help him to define Rome’s place in
5. In several of the works you have read this year, accounts of the underworld
have been essential to the authors’ explanation of the scope and purpose
of human life on earth. How does Virgil's account of Aeneas’ adventure in
the underworld explain the scope and purpose of human life on earth in
Roman terms? In answering this question, you will need to refer to the Epic
of Gilgamesh and/or to Book XI of the Odyssey, in addition to the Aeneid.
6. If Jupiter is the supreme ruler of the Roman cosmos and has prior
understanding of fatum, which he reveals near the beginning of Book I, how
do we account for Juno’s destructive interventions through the narrative?
What is the nature and significance of her reconciliation with Jupiter in
7. Is Aeneas’ killing of Turnus in Book XII in accordance with his pietas and with
Roman stoic heroism? What is the significance of the final scene of the
8. Ovid's Metamorphoses is full of stories of love and of transformation. Examine
two or three of the episodes of love and transformation in the
Metamorphoses and explain how these transformations clarify Ovid’s idea
of love. Is that idea the same or different in the episodes that you have
9. Beginning with the story of creation in Metamorphoses Book I, Ovid makes
many references to artists and the power of art to create and transform.
Discuss the episodes involving creative artists (whether musical, visual,
poetic or in other media) in the passages read this term. What is the
function of art in Ovid’s mind? Is there a connection between the divine
creator of Book I and Ovid the creator in the epilogue of Book XIII?
Ovid is Virgil’s first great successor in the epic genre. In what ways does
Ovid imitate Virgil, and in what ways does he make his poem contrast with
Virgil’s? You should answer both in general terms of plot and scope and in
terms of how the episodes of the Theban cycle (in Metamorphoses Books III
and IV) constitute what has been called an “anti-Aeneid.” How do their
views of the eternity of Rome differ?
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