Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter, Iphigeneia, in order to appease the gods, an action that leads to his own death and that of his wife, Clytemnestra, and torments his children's futures. After ten years of war, Odysseus endures perils and temptations as he travels to regain his home, his wife and his son. Aeneas carries his father away from burning Troy and becomes the 'founding father' of Rome. Amata, Lavinia's mother, is corrupted by Allecto to subvert the foundation legend. Eve eats the forbidden fruit, condemning her husband Adam and the whole of humankind to mortality. Mary, Eve's 'daughter', gives birth to Jesus who, through his own sacrificial death, will redeem humans and regain Paradise. Tragic falls, epic narratives: at the heart of these lies the story of the family, its steadfastness, its temptations, its cruelties and its redemptive possibilities.
Why are there differences in the way the family is depicted in Homeric, Virgilian and Christian epic? Are women always to blame when things go wrong? What happens when patriarchy fails? Must tragedy always involve the family? Is redemption possible and can it all end well after all?
In this Classics and English taster study day for Year 12/Lower 6th students participants will discuss these and other questions with
Oxford tutors as you explore the enduring influence of the family in tragedy and epic.
Oriel College, Oriel Square, OX1 4EW
Regent’s Park College, Pusey Street, OX1 2LB