polutrope: (Default)
Did the Sortes Vergiliana right before the final. Got the part of book four in which Dido is lying to Anna about making a spell to forget Aeneas and is really planning to kill herself. Cursed. Took final.
polutrope: (aeneid)
Oh Vergil. You were doing so well with Dido's speech (Aeneid IV, lines 305-330) and then you got to the last four lines, "At least if something* was begotten by you before you took flight, if some little Aeneas would play in my halls, who would recall you with his face, I would not seem so wholly deserted." It's so weak, especially as an ending to the rest of the speech (which is my favorite part of the Aeneid, besides the beginning). It's not that I object to Dido wanting Aeneas' child, or even her vocalizing it, it's that I object to Vergil's tacking those four lines on to an otherwise powerful speech.

And "tacking on" is exactly the right word. The rest of the speech is thematically consistent: You're leaving, how could you, have pity, you've screwed me over, remember our love. And then out of nowhere, 'I wish I could have had your baby.' As an ending to a speech that begins "Did you hope, coward***, to hide such a crime**" and contains the touching line ..guest (for that name alone remains to me from that of 'husband')...*****! Really, Vergil? Like line 33, he builds up drama and then kills it one shining moment of bathos. And even then this fails - it takes four lines to do what line 33 did in one.

*Leaving aside how creepy it is to call a baby "qua"
**It's better in Latin: Dissimulare etiam sperasti, perfide, tantum/ posse nefas
***Yes I know perfide doesn't mean coward but English doesn't have substantives. It's a lack I mourn daily.****
****I also think it's pretty hilarious when libretti translate crudele as "cruel man!" Way to kill the drama there.
*****Also better in Latin. The point is, she's lost even the ability to call him her husband, because he's a douche.

PS This is totally random but I am writing a paper about her:
To Helen
Who are you, lady,
loved or hated,
defined by men who died
for the shining image of you?
Whose eyes looked down
from that high wall to see
men fragile as the carding of your loom?
And home beside your first lord,
did you drink daily of your Lethean cup?
polutrope: (moar academia)
This paper is now about Väinamöinen. Once upon a time there was a man named Väinamöinen who lived in Finland. He really didn’t have all that much to do with Vergil except that their names start with the same letter and also a crazy Italian man said that the Homeric epics really took place in Finland. Väinamöinen is kind of like Odysseus in a way because they’re both smart but Väinamöinen didn’t do well with women like that time when he married a girl and then she jumped into the North Sea and then he tried to make a wife out of gold and it didn’t work. They are also very different because at the end Väinamöinen represents the old gods and that does not happen with Odysseus, because there was no Christianity in archaic Greece. Also Odysseus didn’t have an illegitimate son who he then abandoned and then had some issues involving marrying his sister by mistake and then she killed herself and then he killed himself too. But that didn’t happen in Homer because he was not Balkan.

[The paper is really about the motivation of Athena in the Odyssey and Venus in the Aeneid. Thesis: the motivations of the goddesses reflect the overall goal of their epics: Athena likes Odysseus personally, while Aeneas, although he is Venus' son, is more important to her as the founder of the empire than as a person. Unfortunately I am having some (that is, a lot) trouble coming up with a good beginning]

(other option for starting this paper: “on a bright day in semi-historic semi-Greece…”)
polutrope: (aeneid)
So I hate Aeneas a lot. I mean, this is not news; my hate-affair started when I first read the Aeneid, but now that I'm rereading book four, my hate was just strengthened.

Dido has an amazing long speech (which I am going to memorize, actually), and then Aeneas answers, "You are able to relate so many things for me, speaking; and I will never deny that you are deserving, nor will it shame me to remember Elissa..."

NOR WILL IT SHAME ME. What kind of response is that, seriously? And then the next line he lies - and there is no way of getting around it. "I never hoped to escape secretly," he says. Except for the way he didn't tell her, and told his men to prepare secretly. Jerk.

(This of course is only compounded by him saying "I didn't know I meant that much to you" in book six when he runs into her in the underworld.)
polutrope: (in ur troy!)
So my first day of classes was today. And by "day" I mean 2 1/2 hours. In any case, my Vergil class was just as amazing as I thought it would be, although there is no power in the world that can make me accept the line Tantae molis erat Romanam condere gentem is anything but a horrible anticlimax, perhaps because it's a horrible case of telling and not showing.

German was Germanic; the beginning of the class was all in German (which had quite a lot of fumbling on everyone's part) and continued thus until the explanation of the syllabus.

I seem to have found all the other Classics majors; they're in German 101! We were having a Classics-y conversation involving all the languages we had to learn, and one of the other students asked us wonderingly "What are you all majoring in?"

The most awkward part of the class was when our instructor told us that we were going to have "ein klein Cocktail-Party" and introduce ourselves. It worked really well, let me assure you.


polutrope: (Default)

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