Myth FALL 2009 Typed Response 5:
Due Monday, Nov 23
Choose one of the following passages to explicate. Type the passage at the head of your paper, and give the PAGE number in the textbook which it comes from.
Now, explicate the passage, as we have done before; that is:
Identify the work it's from, the author, the rough time period. Explain what is it saying, how does it fit in with the immediate context, how does it contribute meaning to the work as a whole? Finally – what importance does it have for your general study of myth? Why does the ancient author tell us this? Why does this ancient author choose the specific details he chooses?
All papers should answer all of these questions. Outstanding papers will answer all of these questions in smooth, concise, polished prose, with additional quotations where necessary (which will be referenced with line numbers).
you dare, Olympian, to swear me a great and terrible promise,
that the child, descending today between the knees of his mother,
human, but your own blood, is destined to rule the regions?
frightened children rushed, now here, now there.
One sought his terror-stricken mother's skirts,
one hugged a pillar's all too slender shade,
one fledgling trembled at the altar’s side.
stayed locked in a cell of inescapable granite,
guarded on every hand. Her tongueless mouth could tell nothing...
She set up the threads of the warp, and with a barbarian shuttle
wove in its pure white threads and the purple strands of the weft.
That law was not prescribed by
nor are such rules laid down for us by Justice,
who works with even those dark gods below.
I cannot think your law could have such force
that you, mere man, could negate the unwritten
inviolable statues of the gods.
They are not of today or yesterday,
but live forever.
I hereby call down curses on this
be he alone, or helped in secret crime—
that horribly, as he is horrible,
he may drag out his wretched unblessed days.
This too I pray: Though he be of my house,
if I learn of it, and let him still remain,
may I receive the curse I have laid on others.