When comparing Medea to Achilles they have a lot of similarities. Both characters show they are not in control of their emotions, but that their emotions are in control of them. In the Iliad Achilles refuses to fight, blinded by spite, putting everyone he cares about in harm’s way and committing sacrilege by desecrating Hectors body. This blind rage is very much apparent in Medea. When Jason abandon’s her she is so consumed by her anger she cannot even stand the sight of her own children, ultimately sacrificing them to cause Jason pain. Jason’s abandonment of his family sends Medea into a self-destructive spiral, but I still believe that Medea does show aspects of a hero. Throughout the story the decision to murder her own children hangs deeply on Medea. It’s not until half way through the story when conversing with the chorus that Medea decides to let her emotions lead her actions, and follow through with her plot. This transformation, as horrendous as it is, shows that Medea is not who she was at the start of the play. Medea has changed, her family isn’t important anymore. What was important to Medea is showing Jason she would not stand to be treated in such a way. Medea wants to show Jason that she can be as cruel to Jason, as Jason was cruel to her when he left her. I believe that Medea is a hero because she’s trying to change a social norm that should not be accepted; the fact that it’s socially okay for Jason to abandon his family to exile for a new wife is not okay and Medea will stand up for that inequality. In the play I believe Medea goes to such extremes because it’s supposed to show the audience that when you’re not in control of your emotions even a noble cause like social equality can turn to devilish intent.
I believe Job accepts Gods answer because he understands how un-important his own question is before God. Job cannot even begin to comprehend the divine power of God. So how could God reason his thoughts to Job? Job has learned everything he needs to, and his faith has been reaffirmed by the mere presence of God. I was satisfied by the end of the dialogue. It reminds me of Gilgamesh. It’s not the reward that matters, but the journey. Job’s rewards may have been a prosperous life, but it was his journey that brought him together with God.
The heroes Achilles and Hector were both headstrong warriors, fighting for honor in the epic The Iliad. Achilles born with an unbridled rage and super human strength is the Hero of the Achaeans. But his pride and arrogance leaves him unable to act. Achilles even curses his own allies out of rage for a slight of honor committed against him by his own commander. Achilles is a prideful and selfish hero, leaving little thought of the Achaeans that fight for life around him. Achilles, being born half-god heeds his own call to glory, giving up on hope of a simple life for one of honor.
The hero Hector on the other hand heads a call to duty. Hector fights for Troy out of love of his people and desire to protect his family. Hector is such a hero to his people he inspires them to fight, and leads them through a gruesome war for survival. But, Hector has his own flaws. Filled with a bloodlust of his own and desire to win Hector becomes reckless. Causing him to disregard the risk to his men and lead them to doom. Hector cannot live with himself after his loss at battle, and soon becomes victim to Achilles. Hector was defeated by his own arrogance when he decided not to heed the omens sent by the gods. It’s these flaws that relate Hector and Achilles together. Both of them share in the arrogance that ultimately leads to their demise.
What brings Achilles back from his rage after disgracing Hectors body is not Priam himself, but Priams plea for Achilles to think of his own father. Achilles is doomed to die in distant enemy lands, far from his own father. The thought that Peleus, much like Priam, would suffer if Achilles were not returned brings our hero to his senses. It is at this point that Achilles has matured. He realizes he’s destined to die and learns to accept it. This acceptance leads Achilles to strife for honor above glory. As he, like Hector, will die someday too.
I believe The Iliad at its core is a story about two men trying to balance the code of the warrior with the code of family. Achilles, a born warrior destined to walk the path of the warrior, longs for a peaceful life where he may life many years. Very similar to Hector, who is forced by fate to walk the warriors path, wants nothing more than to be a father to his son. The largest difference is how the two characters try to balance both codes. Hector tries and tried and tried to be the best warrior he can be to protect his family, but is weighed down by this burden. In the end Hector is ashamed and refuses to retreat to the safety of Troy and instead waits for Achilles where in his final moments, he decides to run again. Hector cannot let go of his family and still refuses to accept death running till he is tricked by the Gods to stand and fight. Achilles on the other hand spends most the war deciding if he should in fact take part of the war and seal his fate; to die an early death on the battlefield. Ultimately it takes the death of Achilles dear friend Patroclus to force Achilles to action. Achilles learns that he must accept death if he wishes save the people around him. Admitting during his ride to battle that he knows what is at stake and is ready to accept his fate. I believe that The Iliad shows that neither these characters could walk both paths. Hector strives to be the warrior to save his family, but is blinded by the warrior’s code and refuses to retreat; failing his family. Achilles eventually gives up on his desire to lead a long life and accepts his fate; failing his family, but winning the greatest honor.
The story of Gilgamesh has many great examples of the Hero’s Journey in it. The Hero’s Journey in Gilgamesh starts with the character Enkidu. Because Gilgamesh was such a terrifying King men begged the goddess Aruru to create an equal who can stand up to Gilgamesh, and so she creates Enkidu. Enkidu is strong and wild like an animal. Enkidu’s call to adventure begins when he is seduced by the harlot Shamat. It creates a desire in Enkidu to be human, and to become part of their culture. Enkidu hears of the evil King and challenges Gilgamesh. After a great brawl Gilgamesh and Enkidu gain respect for each other, becoming true comrades. They have both under gone a transformation, these two men who had stood unparalleled could now consider each other their equal. Just as Enkidu had gained a culture and society by finding a friend in Gilgamesh; Gilgamesh gained a sense of maturity and place to fit into society by finding a friend in Enkidu. This is just the begging of the Epic of Gilgamesh but already a brief cycle of the Journey has been displayed, while setting up the rest of the Epic to build into more and grander Journeys of the Hero.
I believe all the Functions of Mythology are alive in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The start of the epic is clear attempt to feel accepted into society. Gilgamesh must grow and mature to be accepted to be seen as an adult, and not an angry child. And Enkidu must learn to be civilized, and learn how to belong into society before he can be accepted to Uruk. The need to explore our own psychology is represented greatly by how ambiguous Gilgamesh’s success is. Gilgamesh was able to stop the Bull of Heaven with the help of Enkidu, but in turn Gilgamesh lost Enkidu to the grips death by angry gods. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a great example of how the Functions of Mythology can be used to increase the value of stories, by creating a world where we can reflect on our own trials and tribulations.
I think it’s clear that Gilgamesh’s is a success. Even if Gilgamesh believes he has not gained what he was looking for in his quest. The quest itself was Gilgamesh’s reward. By the end of the story Gilgamesh goes home to write of his adventure; of its success and misfortunes. Gilgamesh has come to terms with his mortality, and at the same time his desire for adventure has waned. Gilgamesh with coming to terms with his mortality learns that to live on you must pass on what you have learned to the next generation; which is Gilgamesh’s form of immortality. I believe this is a huge success and well worth the trade for the Plant of Life. Gilgamesh learns from Urshanabi that living forever does not bring peace, but that peace is found from the deeds you accomplish.
The movie, “Thank you for Smoking’ is a story of an un-likely hero. Nick Naylor is a lobbyist for big industry Tabaco who users the power of ‘spin’ to sell cigarettes to anyone and everyone. To quote Nick himself, “Every time I’m on a plane I try to convince the guy next to me to pick up smoking. I figure with how much he’ll be spending on tobacco soon I just paid for my flight.’ This is what makes Nicks journey interesting. It’s not a journey of adventure or action, but more of morals and ethics.
Nick’s journey begins when his ex-wife chooses to re-marry, which causes Nick to worry about his relationship with his 12 year old son. Nick sets course and takes his son with him on a month of business trips so that he can spend more time with his son. During this trip Nick tries to be a positive role model for their son, showing him around the big cities, and teaching his son the art of ‘spin.’ But Nick ends up showing his son the dark side of the Tabaco industry as well. Making Nick question his own plans with his son. This is where Nick meets his threshold; can Nick still be a positive role model for his son and still work for the Tabaco industry?
Nick becomes the target of an assassination. Kidnapped on the streets and forced to wear enough nicotine patches to poison him. Nick is left on the streets to die; hospitalized Nick soon wakes from a coma. But, the doctors say because of how much nicotine was introduced to his system if he smokes another cigarette he could die. This is much like a supernatural aid for our hero, or even a rebirth. Nick is forced to stop smoking by an outside force, which changes his perspectives. Nick begins questioning why it is the Tabaco industry he is fighting for.
Soon after the assassination attempt, private interviews with Nick are released to the public that destroys Nick’s credibility. Nick falls into depression until his son helps him recall the integrity in his job that everyone deserves a strong defense. Nick has come to his realization, that even if he’s not proud of what he’s done he’s taught his son that everyone deserves a fair fight. Nick returns to Capitol Hill to defend the Tabaco industry in a senate committee hearing for the FCC and makes a strong argument against the use of poison labels on cigarette packs. Nick, after finishing his last job for his employer, quits and leaves the Tabaco industry behind with the goal to defend people he doesn’t have to hate; to be a better role model for his son.
I believe that good cinema meets the human needs expressed in the four functions of mythology. Movies easily create universes in which humans belong with a distinct picture of society. In the example of “Thank you for Smoking’ the movie doesn’t have to try very hard to establish those functions; as they are largely based of our culture anyway. The mystery behind is movie is how the power of argument is used. The movies main premise is that if you argue well enough you can win any battle, which makes people beg the question; can the Tabaco industry be right? When by the end your left with more of psychological question of what makes an answer right or wrong? Good movies leave should leave the viewer thinking afterwards, and by using the human needs expressed in the four functions of mythology it helps movies invoke those deeper questions we have about ourselves or about society.
Hey everyone! My names Gavin Borgeson, I’m 24 and born and raised in Fairbanks, or the banks as I like to call it. I’m a junior at UAF currently pursuing a degree in computer science. I started my degree in 2008 and I work full time at a local IT shop so it’s been tough to try and get my degree done in a timely manner. But I like what I do, and I’m all right if it takes a bit longer to get the degree.
School and computers aside I have an enormous passion for music. I learned how to play the piano when I was young and more recently the guitar. I personally think everyone should learn to play an instrument! There’s nothing more fun for me than getting together with friends to jam some music or discuss the latest albums. You could even catch me at an open mic or two around town.
I’ve only been taking a couple classes a semester it’s been a little while since my last English class but I need it to finish up my core. That being said I’m thoroughly looking forward to the material we are going to cover in this class looks like a lot of great reading. I’m excited to be discussing these texts and gaining a better insight on these cultures and time periods as I find them so interesting already. Here’s to a good semester!