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Humanities: Love, Heroes, Theater, and Fairytales… | March 11, 2010

NOTE: The cites are from the text “The Art of being Human”. and I never liked the text, or the class. Here’s another Humanities essay…

     Eros love, or romantic love, is the love between a man and a woman, with passion, and in lust. This love’s name came from the roman lesser-god, Eros.  One particular story that shows this love is the story of his mother, Venus being struck by his arrow and she sees Adonis, a hunter, and they make love, and he goes off and dies. She finds heartbreak in this and curses the world that through this love no one will ever find happiness. This story personifies romantic love. The arrow representing the feeling of love at first sight, because lust seems to come from nowhere, is very quick in happening, and happens after staring at the person, an arrow is fitting since it pierces like love does on sight, and love is blind, which is why Eros is sometimes blindfolded. Also, the curse that no one will be truly happy in the end is true, if it is from pure lust. It’s a hard concept to understand, so the Romans used this story to explain why that is. Also, the flower that is named after Adonis is like love. It is red, and blooms quickly and the red petals get blown away quickly. (pg. 464) This story epitomizes romantic love, and it also claims it as its origin too.

     Agape love is unselfish love. It is a purer love. It’s a love in family or someone you care for greatly. It is often called platonic love, a love that is non-physical; the pleasures are not of the body. “Death of a salesman” (pg. 470) is about a man who didn’t think much of himself, being a poor salesman, but he sees his son, and wants him to succeed. He is told his son won’t amount to much, and that lies heavy on his heart. So he, to make sure that doesn’t happen, he crashes his car into a wall to have his son collect on insurance and become a business triumph. This story shows the relationship of the man, Willy Loman and his son. Willy loves his son very much, and wants to see his son succeed. So in the end, gives his life to see him succeed, well, not see him succeed, since he killed himself, but to give his son a start so he can succeed.

     The birth of the hero interests me, because my favorite Greek myth, of Perseus, has all the necessary requirements, and he is a very heroic person, doing many great deeds. His origin is foretold by an oracle, and that he is descended from Zeus, and his grandfather, a king. But he does not know that, as he is locked in a chest and thrown away. It was washed up onto a shore, and then found and he was raised by Polydectes, king of Seriphos. This birth is made by Zeus seeing Danae, Perseus’ mother, and coming into her locked room as a shower of gold and impregnating her. So he is a demigod who’s descended from a king and found by peasants. This qualifies him as a hero by mythology standards. Only thing that doesn’t qualify him, is he wasn’t raised by peasants, and his mother was locked in the chest with him, making his origin not a secret. Outside of those two things, he has an origin of a mythological hero.

     Early recognition of the hero happened when Polydectes wanted to marry Danae, but Perseus didn’t let him, so he wanted to get him out of the way. Polydectes told Perseus to get the head of Medusa, and he consented. This challenge spurred him to go off and show he is a hero; he went and searched for the fates. He found them and made the fates tell him where medusa is. He went and killed Medusa, taming Pegasus. If it weren’t for polydectes, he was forced to show he is a hero more than it coming naturally. His early recognition of the hero was not typical in myth, especially Greek myth.

     The Hero’s great deed was never to me, in Perseus’ case, medusa, but what happens after. Perseus got the call to be a hero and realized this after he killed the Medusa, not before like it would seem. On the way home, Perseus killed the leviathan that was not threatening him, or his honor, like the Medusa was, but because of the newfound hero in him, he killed it and saved the Andromeda. The Leviathan was a beast and a curse on the land, just like the Minotaur was in Crete and the story of Theseus. Perseus saved Andromeda and took her home. He then went home and turned everyone to stone with the head of Medusa, except his mother, and his grandfather was there also, killing him too. This all happened in young adulthood, and it was a sort of passage to adulthood. (pg 47) It was a passage to adulthood symbolized by him getting the girl, saving his mother from the king and killing his grandfather that threw them away.

     My favorite fairytale as a little kid was the three little pigs. The need for reassurance (pg. 65) was always a good story to me. And even now, we use things like religion and wealth as signs of security. That reassurance that we feel we need to be happy. Humans by nature are Apollonian in this instance, naturally, and epicureans naturally. They are epicureans by the need to feel that security. That security and reassurance is the knowledge of the pain they are avoiding by having what they want and know what they won’t have (poverty, warmth, or anything that they treasure and want security for). This story epitomized what hard work ensures, security and reassurance that everything will be alright. I liked that the pig with a solid home, and not only solid, but nice too compared to the others who prized fun and not having to work over security, won out in the end. Not only that he survived the threat of the wolf, but killed the wolf when the wolf tried to get in through the chimney. The first two pigs seemed to represent Dionysians who played or relaxed more, and they failed in the end. But the third pig had better things, and security against the wolf, because he worked harder.

     The classical theater of Greece and Rome interested me. The type of plays was very different than in modern theater. Greeks, for example had no onstage violence. (pg. 215) Everything was done offstage, if violent enough, you would hear screams in the background. And then someone would come back onstage, usually a messenger or someone there, and sometimes the character(s) involved, would come out and explain to an onstage character what had happened. This I find a little strange, I don’t completely understand why they felt the need to do violent scenes offstage. Roman plays, even though in the same era, did the complete opposite; they stabbed, and in some cases used slaves and murdered them onstage. Another convention was the characters; they were very flawed and sometimes not very heroic either. Like Oedipus Rex, he was a very tragic character, and they have a downfall too, which is because of their fatal flaw.

     The Elizabethan era of theater interests me too. They share a lot of qualities from the classical theater of Greece and Rome. This interests me because this is a great time in the future, yet they followed old conventions, but with new themes. One convention they shared was the fact that they didn’t use women in their plays. They did however use pre-pubescent children for women’s roles. They did this because of the vocal cords in the children were still more feminine as they have yet to hit puberty. Another convention they had was daylight plays, because lack of lighting technology for theaters, so they had open roofs and it would rain too, occasionally. But theaters had a standing pool, which was another convention, that the poor stood in at the foot of the stage. These open roofed theaters let light come in for the plays to happen, but only during the day.

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