PLATO: The Republic [Book X]

In Book X of Plato’s Republic, Socrates banishes all artists from his ideal State. He argues that the creations of art are farthest removed from truth; and therefore, art turns the mind of the spectator away from truth and toward the realm of becoming. For example, there are several instances of tables in the world, but only one idea of a table. A table-maker can make a table, but he cannot make the idea of a table. Even farther removed from the true idea of a table than the table of a table-maker is the painting of a table. “Tables, then, are of three kinds, and there are three artists who superintend them: God, the maker of the table, and the painter.” Continue reading

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Webster: The White Devil

John Webster was an early 17th century English playwright. He is best known for his dark, gloomy, and morbid tragedies. Literary critic, T.S. Eliot, wrote that “Webster was much possessed by death and saw the skull beneath the skin.” In this video, we will discuss Webster’s treatment of death in his famous tragedy titled, The White Devil. Continue reading

Euripides: Alcestis

In the 2004 film, Alexander, Alexander the Great addresses his army before the battle of Gaugamela – “I say to you what every warrior has known since the beginning of time: conquer your fear and I promise you, you will conquer death!” Conquering death is a feat that has fascinated mankind from time immemorial. Mankind has devised many ways to achieve this feat. Some cultures have advised that people can conquer death by performing heroic deeds and thereby achieve immortal fame. Other cultures have created resurrection myths, which narrate a hero’s victory over death and return to life. In this video, we will explore the resurrection myth of Alcestis, as presented by the Ancient Greek playwright Euripides. Continue reading

AESCHYLUS: Agamemnon

The Oresteia is the only surviving trilogy of Ancient Greek Tragedy. The trilogy was written by Aeschylus, and it was first performed in 458 BC during the festival of Dionysus in Athens, where it won first prize. In this three part video series, we will provide brief summaries of the three plays, and also explore the themes of Revenge, Justice, and Fate. Continue reading