…consolidated into a single, extremely long paragraph.
The bravery of Akhilleus, the cunning of Akhilleus, the untapped strength of Akhilleus: throughout the Iliad , these traits of Peleus’ son are spoken of reverently, and often nostalgically, by the Akhaian troops. The Greek city-state was a bastion of democracy, where the participation and equality of all citizens was the primary goal of the non-autocratic government. By repeating key words and imagery throughout Phaedra’s five acts, Jean Racine establishes a constrictive script from which the characters struggle to free themselves. Though the respected Princeton historian John Hageman was clearly an unfortunate victim of the Victorian literary style, his words—no matter how involved the sentences are—ring true even now, 112 years after they were first put to paper. Society has always placed great emphasis on what people are called. Odysseus’ conquests of monsters, ill fortune, and the gods’ curses in his twenty-year voyage from the battles of Troy to his home in Ithaka may easily lead a reader to classify Homer’s Odyssey as a purely singular struggle. The words printed above The Baltimore African American’s masthead—“A Champion of Civic Welfare and the Square Deal”—perhaps serve best to sum up both the newspaper’s and its readers’ concerns. Brecht’s theater showed us that the epic is not necessarily confined to verse; in the same way, Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote extracts the epic form from its original poetic circle and inserts it into the less familiar territory of the novel. Just as 1941 will forever be remembered as the year in which the United States plunged into battle in Europe and Japan, so, too, will 1965 bear the eternal label as The Year The Vietnam War Really Started. The notion of a man and woman living alone on an island together might evoke a Blue Lagoon-like image, in which the stranded couple slowly fall in love amidst the swaying palm trees. In the white Southern psyche, the lowering of the Confederate flag after Appomattox by no means represented the end of the Confederate spirit. We all probably remember the first time we saw our reflection in a convex funhouse mirror. In Hoffmann’s “The Sandman,” Nathanael, the young protagonist, writes a vivid poem for his lover, Klara, in which he describes the couple’s wedding day. During the 250 years of Qing rule in China, the ruling class and the academic elite were involved in a constant game of give-and-take, conceding to each other only when they feared that their own power was in jeopardy. Bearing in mind even Leonardo’s Last Supper and Michelangelo’s fresco of the Book of Genesis in the Sistine Chapel, there is no single more important symbol to Christian art than the Crucifixion. In his essay “The Uncanny,” Sigmund Freud contends that the realm of fear is actually divided into several provinces. Toward the end of the first book of Paradise Lost, Milton introduces the fallen angel Mammon, a spirit described in the Norton edition as “a kind of Christian equivalent of Plutus,” the blind god of wealth in Greek mythology. Because Charlie Parker uses an alto saxophone while Buddy Tate plays a tenor, comparing the two musicians’ versions of “My Melancholy Baby” might seem to be an issue of apples versus oranges. A theme in many of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems is that of the human in a vacuum, the person without environment or self. The feeling of déjà vu (French for “already seen”) has certainly never been a stranger to human perception. By opening his catalog of pilgrims with the indelibly connected knight and squire in The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer makes it clear from the start that the interplay within the list is as important as the individual descriptions. William Shakespeare’s character development in A Midsummer Night’s Dream probably runs contrary to every How-to-Write handbook ever printed. According to Brevard Childs in The Book of Exodus, literary examination of Exodus 33 “is extremely difficult and no consensus has emerged” (p. 584). In her essay on the Nun’s Priest’s Tale in Chaucer and Medieval Preaching: Rhetoric for Listeners in Sermons and Poetry (GNV, 1991), Sabine Volk-Birke argues that the nun’s priest bypasses the theological high road in order to tell a tale that ultimately has no moral and simply stands on its own as a light, tightly constructed story. Spenser’s poetic treatment of Despair’s speech in stanza 40 of canto IX goes a long way toward explaining why Trevisan, twelve stanzas earlier, compares Despair to “Snake in hidden weedes” (I.ix, 28). In chapter seven of Job, verses 1-2, Job asks, “Is not human life on earth just conscript service?/Do we not live a hireling’s life?” (NJB, p.764). The first book of Edmund Spenser’s The Fairie Queene hosts a wood full of animal images, and no creature is alluded to more than the lion, the king of the beasts. On the ship’s deck in Act III, scene one of Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Pericles gives one speech to honor his newborn daughter, Marina, and another to bid farewell to his wife, Thaisa, who died in Marina’s childbirth. The forward progress of Donne’s “Hymn to God my God, in my Sickness” (p. 347) encompasses feelings of inward, outward, and upward movement. Judas Iscariot will forever be known as a traitor, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. In light of Milton’s catalog of paradise’s animals a little later at line 340 of book IV, his equation of Satan with the wolf makes sense: the architect of the fall is also the architect of predation. The January 11, 1929 edition of Life magazine features a two-page spread cartoon captioned simply “Vintage of 1900.” Money has its positive and negative points, Pope writes in Epistle to Bathurst, and cannot be defined as good or bad until a series of ends have been achieved with it. In the opening lines of “Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances,” Walt Whitman questions whether appearances are somehow misleading, whether everything that he has accepted as true and stable in his life is actually something completely different. It seems that the central dilemma Wordsworth finds himself facing in the beginning of Book V of The Prelude is whether it is possible for the frail human mind to find a niche amid the order of nature. Jack Kerouac lived a paradoxical life, at least in the eyes of everyone except himself. It’s very easy to complain that the film version of a novel somehow does not live up to its literary predecessor. Both Wallace Stevens’ “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” and Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays” can be described as elegies. In Chapter 16 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck undergoes a sudden turnaround of attitude. From the very outset of Everyman’s quest for “company from this vale terrestrial” (155), the elusive concept of fellowship proves to be a major problem. In The Physician’s Tale, the Physician draws a grotesque image—the father, Virginius, presenting his virtuous daughter’s head to a corrupt judge—to galvanize his position on the vital importance of chastity. The question “Why do we sleep?” seems simple enough. In Crito, Crito visits Socrates in prison and implores him to flee Athens and Socrates’ imminent death sentence. In his definitive biography on Charles Brockden Brown, Harry Warfel writes that the author of Wieland; Or, The Transformation considered himself a “storytelling moralist.” Macbeth devastates no less than four father-son relationships in The Tragedy of Macbeth. In The Principles of Morals and Legislation, Jeremy Bentham lists suicide as a self-regarding, or intransitive, offense (p. 246). In his discussion of Agnes and the Merman, Kierkegaard addresses the issue of sin neither by ignoring or affirming it.