Author Archives: sxkristoffersen

Madea y Job


She does not fully fit the character of Achilles, in so far as she is not honorable or epic from might and valor. Medea not only kills her brother and children, she also conjured a way for her father to be killed. So, sure, her deeds could be considered epic, not in a hero sense, but in a villainous one. All of her actions were for her and her own “happiness,’ driving her depression after each attempt at archiving her apex of self worth. Going against the “familial code’ and what could be argued the “hero’s code,’ she puts forth a display not notable in terms of hero. Killing his loved ones would be the last wish of Achilles; in fact it wasn’t always his wish on his enemies either.

I think it is safe to say Madea would be considered a hero, but not necessarily in terms of compassion or valor, but rather for protest against socially normalized duties based on sex (biological sexes). She was against female oppression, although only when it allowed her anger to complete horrible acts of revenge. But a hero in terms of Homeric lore, she was definitely the contrary, she did not fight for people or for a noble cause, she fought in an un-noble conniving way, often involving her not getting her hands dirty.

She destroyed everything she loved, and made sure everything she lost suffered out of spite and out of rage. She does fit Achilles in that she is only concerned with her self, just as Achilles has no king, fighting only for glory to extend the remembrance of his name and victories.


Nothing sometimes is the only answer needed; the one who is answerless reaches the conclusion and thus the moral of the story. The conclusion Job reached is acceptance, the “faith,’ in this god character to decide what is meant to happen, but only after a history of complaint and arrogant boasting. Therefore, when god finally did answer him, it was a serious rebuttal, casting shame to Job for his assertion of his divinity.

Perhaps through listing off everything evil he has not done, which according to Job is proof he was good, he missed the main purpose of why he was good to begin with, and through showing the evil he did not do, he was over casting the reasons he did not do them in the first place.

The real question is, is Job so superior that he above all others disserves good fortune? It’s hard to say, because often-old texts like this are rattled with ambiguity, that is why I think the moral to take away from this is that no one is above others and we each get judged equally, in the religious metaphorical sense. Job had some complaining issues directed at god and even by asserting his goodness, he was still complaining. Through showing all his holy qualities he showed his weakness.

There is an Old Norse saying, which I feel correlates well with this story:

“It’s better being alive than lying lifeless; the living man keeps his cow; I saw a fine fire burn bright for a rich man while he lay dead at the door.’ (McDonald and Somerville, 2010:492).

That is to say, even when someone has everything (morality, wealth, etc.), they still have nothing in the end (end here being god’s “grace) or end in reality, which is death. We all must appreciate what we have, rather than living off what we lack.

Week Three The Iliad

1. Achilles and Hector are contrasted through their motivation of honor, not only in the eyes of those who follow them, but also in the eyes of the gods. Family proves to be a strong motivator for Hector as does the fact that he fights at home with his people defending their city. Briseis is to Achilles what Hectors family is to, because until Achilles got her back he refused to fight. Hector is blinded by the first battle’s glorious victory by the Trojans, seemingly by the will of Zeus himself. These two are the ideal champions of their people. Hector for honor and compassion towards his people and Achilles for his fierce fighting nature. Because of Achilles’ arrogance about his superiority, he finds himself in numerous dishonorable situations, which include leaving his men to fight without him, all because Agamemnon scratched his god-like ego. They both shared anger, but for different reasons. Hector was infuriated at Paris, who snuck Helen back, making Troy vulnerable to assault. Achilles, on the other hand, does not necessarily portray anger until the fateful battle when his dear friend Patroclus misleads Hector on the field armored as Achilles, and Hector kills Patroclus. They both came from honorable ancestry, but this story is about how they chose their own paths and if they would become honorable and worth remembering. In the end, both led honorable victories and fought for what they cared about most; for Achilles it was immortality, for Hector it was the love for his people and the responsibility he acted through valor.

2. Hectors father, King Priam, sought out Achilles and prayed to him to let him bury his son Hector. Achilles agreed, although why we are not fully detailed. In these ancient Greek conflicts, the honor and valor is with defeating an enemy and not in mutilating those corpses when they cannot fight back. It seems, as for the action of Achilles killing Hector during his rage, he may have realized the hurt it caused other innocent family members. Perhaps the matter was due to Priam pleading him for the body, but it is unclear. But whether or not it was the plea feeding Achilles’ power driven ego or his sadness, it was an honorable gesture returning the fallen Hector’s body to be buried as a Trojan. The fact that after such a sacrilegious display to both sides of the fighting and he chose to calm his rage and let peace be made with him and Hector’s remains changes the character’s moral figure in the story. Perhaps this whole scene is meant to testify how forgiveness is possible even when a situation seems unbearable to forgive, yet Achilles did forgive, or at least understand grief and loss.

3. I believe it is possible for these two codes to coexist, because without one there is often not the other. For Hector even though he was not totally sure if he would win, he believed he was the better man and perhaps the gods would favor his victory. Achilles did not wish to fight any longer, and contemplated a “domestic life,’ but honor in vengeance called him back to respect his “family,’ Patroclus. In this instance one sees the warrior and familial mesh together in an emotional fever pitch. Honor in Hectors case pulled harder than family, thus he thought more of victory than self-preservation. Through both of these codes, the characters here battled between what is expected of them and what the situation called for.

Hero’s Journey

1) I believe the epic of Star Wars successfully melded the hero’s journey stages appropriately leading to easy acceptance by the audience as a true classic. For example, the story follows Luke Skywalker, who, unbeknownst to him, was about to become a hero and embark upon an epic journey. The tale began with Luke as an innocent young man with no ambition beyond working on his uncle’s farm on his home planet. Through assistance of Obi-Wan Kenobi, he was introduced to a “supernatural’ awakening to the force, which he himself unwillingly possessed.

Through various plot twists, he began his journey and finally was in search of the master, Yoda, to help him better understand himself and the force within him. After which, through many battles against the Dark Side of the force, he finally returned as a master Jedi. He saved his friends from a giant slug.

This series of films followed the formula well, especially if it is broken down specifically to Campbell’s definition of a hero’s journey. This quest of Luke Skywalker has what seems to be the major enforcer of all great mythologies, and that is a moral, or “light side’ hero versus the immoral, or “dark side’. I wonder if the hero’s journey formula is what the film’s creators followed in order to gain such a following as the series now possesses, despite the hidden, religion-based foundation.

2) I feel that most good films, i.e., those that seek to do more than entertain, expand on the four functions of mythology, in other words, human curiosity. When a story is written, the director or writer sits down and tries to envision what he/she wants the audience to get out of the film. I imagine they begin by surveying the four functions of mythology, which would encompass the metaphysical, cosmological, sociological, and psychological aspects of the human experience. It is interesting how some films go so far as to begin the film with the main character as an infant and end with the main character old, experienced, and near death. Through these four life aspects using mythology, this directs the audience to examine their own experiences and helps the film connect each of us to who we are, who we will be, and how we hope to reach our life’


1) I feel that there are many similarities of the stages in Gilgamesh; in fact I wonder if this story has some origins of many tales of numerous cultural epics. Gilgamesh first encounters his adventure through dream, and Enkidu joins forces with him later, which introduces the great adventure to come.

2) I believe all four functions of mythology could be argued as occurring within the epic of Gilgamesh. It is undoubted that portions of this epic can be found in many ancient mythological themes and even in modern film or literature.

3) It is hard to say, but it was clear by the end that Gilgamesh had no need for eternal youth because he was now a man, full of wisdom and would not treasure such childish themes as eternal youth. Through coping with mortality he could better understand himself, others, nature, and existences worth.

Simon Introduction

Hello everyone, my name is Simon Kristoffersen and I am a senior at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. My major is in Anthropology with concentrations in both biological anthropology and archaeology. Even though this course is required for any student at UAf, whether seeking B.S. or B.A., I believe the diversity of litrature perspectives will contribute further to my anthropological studies and personal world view. While looking over the course syllabus, I noticed some familiar tales and authors, however many more are new and interesting to me, especially those concerning my regional interests.

Through various anthropology assigned readings I  received some glimpses into other cultures’ ideologies  and social norms, yet no real introduction to their great authors or legends. Through this class it seems I will get a wide array of stories portaying such legends and cultural ideologies.

Primarily, I hope to gain a base knowlege of culturally-distinct historical or mythical world views, because in order to understand one culture you first must examine ideas and ways of thinking that influence converging cosmologies. Something I always find interesting when reading works of various non-English authors is the fact that these works were not originally in English, thus the sheer fact that someone translated it in order for me to gain the original texts’ meanings is an amazing quality in its own. It would be nice to get introduced to an author I will find myself actively motivated to further investigate their literary library. I am sure this class has a lot for me to learn, and I look forward to expressing my interpretations and re-expressing the ultimate goals this diverse list of authors had envisioned for the reader.