ENGL 394: Essay #1

So far this semester we have concerned ourselves with the so-called Fall off the House of Atreus, reading adaptations of this story from Classical Greece and viewing more recent film adaptations. The differences and similarities of these texts are not random but rather construct different approaches to supposedly timeless values. With this in mind, please write an essay of 4-5 pages in length (following the format on the syllabus!) in response to one of the following prompts. The prompts are meant to get you going, i.e. you should not answer them systematically.  You should construct a well-reasoned essay with a thesis and a logical outline. This must be submitted via Blackboard by March 9.

  1. Justice. Select two of the films viewed in class and compare/contrast how they adapt the story to create different messages on what constitutes justice. Among other things, you may want to address how they use setting, characterization, and specific iterations of the story from the Greek world (for example, using Aeschylus as opposed to Sophocles or Euripides) in their contemporary adaptation. What critical commentary does the film make (if any)? Why or how is the film adaptation of this story a useful medium to construct such a critique?
  2. Gender. Select two of the films we viewed for class and compare/contrast their approaches to gender. Situate your analysis with regard to how, for example, the figure of Elektra varies widely even among playwrights in ancient Greece. In the films you choose, you may want to consider: is this representation mean to empower women/men? Does it succeed or fail? Rather than critiquing gender norms, do the films you analyze simply reproduce them? Are we meant to see this as parody or not?