Mmmm Oedipus and the Sphinx

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While in the museum, I found this gorgeous painting- “Oedipus and the Sphinx” by French artist Gustave Moreau. This painting uses a technique known to us as chiaroscuro. A way an artist uses lights and shadows to emphasize the subject of the painting. We can tell that the subject of this painting is Oedipus, handsome man with ideal body, and the Sphinx, the weird creature. He emphasized them not by just titling this entire composition, but also by the use of lights. The background and foreground seems to be dull and not so important and that is due to the amount of shadows placed in those regions. Not only that, but also the fact that all the light is literally on Oedipus and the Sphinx!

This painting clearly relates to classics. We’ve learned about Oedipus and his victory over Sphinx in the Drama unit, which by the way was my favorite of all. Oedipus defeated the unbeatable Sphinx by solving the riddle – “What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening?” Everyone who’s gone to try the challenge never came back as they were killed, however the hero Oedipus gave the answer, “Man,” which then caused the Sphinx’s death.

-Diana, Team Mercury

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BTS, old made new.

BTS- Blood Sweat and Tears

Everyone has been saying my obsession with this Korean boy band is unhealthy, but I can prove otherwise. While its true that especially American singers don’t have much meaning to their songs, I could argue that BTS (방탄소년단) is different. The more songs they release the more I realize there is a connected story between all of them and that they are trying to tell us something other than just the song. In this blog I will be discussing their hit song of 2016- Blood, Sweat, and Tears (피 땀 눈물) While its true that it is aesthetically pleasing to look at, we shall focus and dig deeper.

To begin with, they are in a museum. Aside the fact that there are several sculptures that were inspired by Hellenistic and Classical periods, there is a big painting that caught my attention.This painting is ‘The Fall of the Rebel Angels’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. There is a certain theme of Fallen angels and temptations throughout the Music Video.

The painting this person (Jin) is looking at is very intense. The way I see it is a battle of hell and heaven. Its intensity and emotion reminded me of a painting by Giulio Quaglio, located in Ljubljana Cathedral in Slovenia.

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Both of these paintings give a feeling of darkness, as if there is a battle. They are both very intense. Furthermore, this painting by Guilio Quaglio is painted on the ceiling, just like what? You guessed it. Just like the painting in Sistine Chapel, by Michelangelo.

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We are not only a minute into the video, but I already found so many things that come from early Renaissance period that started in Florence. This is all about revival, old things made new. I really appreciate how they [BTS] are able to incorporate so many complex things into their music video.

Additionally, fast forward to 3:46, the music video shows someone blindfolding one of the members, and the lyrics go:

Kill me gently,

Close my eyes with your hands,

Cant resist it anyway

Cant even run away anymore

You just too sweet too sweet too sweet

As I previously mentioned the painting of Sistine Chapel, I think there is one fragment about the painting that can be applied here. It would be the fragment of temptation of Eve wanting to bite on the forbidden fruit.

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Also, the very beginning of the music video, to tie into the theme of temptations we encounter this fragment:

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Behind the neon lights, we see the painting which shows ‘The lament for Icarus’ by H. J. Draper. As we know, Icarus was warned by his father to not fly neither too low, because the humidity of the sea will melt the wax, neither too high as the hot sun will do the same. However, he disobeyed and listened to his temptations and did as he pleased which caused his death as his wings melted and he crashed into the sea. Similarly, both Adam and Eve knew they shall not eat this apple, as it was prohibited by God. Again, they just like Icarus disobeyed and followed their temptations and ate the fruit of knowledge.

Later in the music video, we see one of the members uncovering his eyes, and he walks to a giant statue.. And kisses it. I believe that is him making a pact with the fallen angel, from that point he was able to see everything as it is. Similarly, after Adam and Eve ate the forbiden fruit, they were able to see truly, they recognized their nudity and felt ashamed. Not to sound too cliche, but they were finally able to truly see.

I would like to use this great opportunity and tie in my classics post here. As we learned, ancient Greek theater was always religious, and they would tell stories already known by everyone. As you can see, this music video contains many religious aspects. Just like the ancient Greeks, the producers of this music video in a way retold a story that many of us read in a Bible. They presented it to us in a new way, yet were able to deliver same meaning. Another very interesting scene that I would like to mention is the “Last Supper” scene. 

Here we see them gathered by the table, with all sitting but one. That one that was contemplating through out the entire music video. He has been seen looking at the painting in the beginning, he is also the one to start seeing things as they are, and now he is the one looking into distance. Why is looking into distance significant you may think, well it is significant because he seem to either know or anticipate something. Similar to the “Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci.

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This is a painting of Jesus eating his last supper before crucifixion. Jesus was aware of his fate, upcoming betrayals and what is awaiting him. Just like this member he knew something was going to happen.

So, this is the end of my analysis. This video contains a lot of symbolism, and it is just impossible for me to thoroughly go over all of them. I gave brief points that I found interesting and similar to our both art and classics classes. It is very complicated, and I advise all of you to watch the video and make your own conclusions. Do you see the similarities I see? You have different theories and analysis? Whether we share similar opinion on this topic or not, the truth. I tried my best explaining, and I hope you’re not confused. 

  • Diana, Team Mercury.

I want to suck your blood!!

I want to suck your blood!! That’s right I’m a vampire. No, I’m the one and only Druuuuuulaaaaa. That’s a dramatic entrance right? Well imagine that same statement said over and over and over again since the REAL Dracula existed?

The story of Dracula originates from a Romanian King, Vlad. The name literally means “Son of the Devil” which was no laughing matter. In order to defeat the Ottomans and scare them off, Vlad’s war tactic was to kill his own people by way of impairment. Innocent citizens were oiled and impaled alive so that their screams of pain and agony would scare about the larger army of the Ottoman’s. The story of Dracula is so gory the only way to understand it was by making Dracula a monster later called a vampire- demon who sucks blood to survive. What is true is that Romania exists from the bloodshed of their own citizens.

We see examples of Dracula in movie series like Twilight, The Count Dracula in Sesame street or my favorite Count Chocula.

Dracula, like Medea are vengeful and scary characters. Both make hasty decisions for the list of their family and and up killing their own blood. Medea enters the play having killed her father while Dracula, taken as a child for a rival army, kills his brother. Similarly, the United States is at war with itself struggling to determine which part of history to acknowledge. Recently there was the murder of a college student in Charlottesville who was at a protest to the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee. Today, without second thought we harm and even kill our fellow human beings (citizens of the USA or not) because we have different scales in which we determine what is right or wrong. Medea thought killing her child was good to save them from humiliation in being abandoned. Dracula sought vengeance in killing his family for not protecting his parents and protesters are killed because of hasty and emotional decisions. 

Do we need more Antigone in the world?

Antigone is an ancient literacy work by Sophocles. Its a proof of how genders and people were treated Creon, the king of Thebian who believed himself as everything. For him, his world is law and he is the ruler for people. In that society, Antigone dared to question him. She challenged the rules in society which brings up the social status and importance of women in that era. As we read the story of Antigone we see Ismene, the sister of Antigone stating that “we were born women, who should not strive with men” She explains Antigone and the audience that as women they have no right to go against of the word of men. It shows how equality did not exists and there is no way for a woman to rule king or any man in their lives. Although, women were clearly shown to be lower than men Antigone didn’t care about any rule or how the society expects her to act. She still burries her brother against the king order. She was strong enough to go against the world to show what she believes in “Creon has no right to keep me from my own”, she was the type of citizen to do anything for justice. In 21st century, we expect the world to be different and more open for everyone. Most of us look back at this reading and believe that time has changed. There are people who are unaware of the fact that inequality still exists in the same way as it existed in Greek time. Just like Antigone, women in eastern countries and in muslim world are still forced to keep their mouth closed and their identities under men. They are forced to dressed a certain way and speak in a different manner. No matter how advanced the world is, women are still not allowed to speak their minds or participate in things they believe in. There is fear and terror that lives in women hearts that needs to be changed. Antigone was someone who had the courage to speak up. Women around the world are treated as men properties and actions needs to be taken to save them. Just like Antigone, we need more women to speak up and raise their voice against inequality. They need to unite and come together to fight for everything they believe in. It takes courage to fight, and its the only way for women to be free. Fizzasaeed,Team HermesGender_Inequality

Hell Hath No Fury

The scene is dark with an impeccable consciousness of regret hovering over you as you eat the third handful of buttery, salty popcorn. A few kernels spill over failing to make it to your mouth but your eyes are pasted onto the pail nonpareil actress holding a tendentious expression over the angry, frightened Reverend. The remnant taste of a cola you sipped four and a incessant seconds ago is still lingering off of your tongue and that’s when the phenomena occurs: scary salemWhy did I choose THIS net-flick?! Why does anyone choose a series to binge and who on earth in 2017 can relate to the Salem Witch Trials or a woman stuffing a rat down her husband’s throat?! Apparently a flock of WGN America’s Salem fans including myself.

Salem is a television show about the contras’ of freedom. We all have freedom to do whatever we please but the consequences are not so lithe or agreeable- often objectionable. Arguably, a young woman in love and separated from her true love by the religious tyranny of the Puritans, Left alone with a bastard child she enters the world of satanism to rid herself of child. She is later unable to alter her choices when her lover returns with burdens of his own. Torn between reviving Satan in hopes of creating a new world of peace and leaving her duties to be a mother and wife in an autonomous state.

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How to win the Game of Thrones..?

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Game of Thrones, a very popular TV series by HBO has just released new season which absolutely rocks! The series take place mainly in the continent known to us as- Westeros. Westeros is the home for several major houses in the series, as well as home for King’s Landing. As the name suggests, King’s Landing is the place where the king and the royal family is located. As you can see on the map below, King’s landing is fairy small compared to the other kingdoms, and yet has control over all of them… Right? Well, that was the case before Cersei Lannister got the power. First of all, only Kings were the true rulers of the Seven Kingdoms, but many dramatic events have made her one and only Queen of Westeros.

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Long Before Cersei sat on the iron throne, she already have played her Game of Thrones, How? Well after king Robert tragically passed away, their son – Joffrey had been crowned and therefore announced to be the king. Due to the fact that he was still young and unknowing of the crown matters, his mother – Cersei was technically ruling instead of him. However, not long after he was associated. That was very heartbreaking for Cersei, but she still had another son that could take a place of Joffrey. And he did, Tommen- youngest of Cersei’s kids became the new king. He was way too young however, thus making his mother the undercover ruler of seven kingdoms. After sometime, Cersei has destroyed something that he dearly valued, which led him into taking his life. Left with no other descendants, she became one and only ruler of seven kingdoms. Now that you know a brief description of events led to Cersei’s reign, I can take you to my next point.

Throughout the history, humankind have faced several dictators, most of which have been eliminated. Most of the time, dictatorships are practiced in the closed societies. What do I mean by that? I mean societies are that not welcoming new ideas, and new people; Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler are the few of the dicatoators that practiced their reigns in such societies. What both of them have in common other than living in a closest world away from everytone? Well, people under their dictatorship feared and despised them (although couldn’t really show it due to the fear factor.) Another common trait? They did not concern themselves with the opinions, suggestions and such of the common people, or anyone else really. Sooner or later this kind of behavior leaves people no other choice but to bring them down, which ultimately stops their reigns. Why am I saying all this? Well, although some world-class dictators have been eliminated, some still remain. For example – Kim Jong-Un. North Korea is one of the undeveloped , closed to everyone countries. He is arguably one of the worst dictators yet to exist. People in North Korea are suffering, dying of hunger and other aspects while he lives perfectly fine. Sounds similar… similar to Cersei Lannister! She, just like Kim Jong-Un, does not care of the well-being of her common people, making herself a perfect dictator. History repeats itself, and as long as people won’t find courage to rebel, the dictators will live their life as selfishly as ever before, and people will continue suffering.

In the play given to us – Antigone, Creon, arguably is the dictator. He demands that one of the son’s body mustn’t be buried, which goes against God’s will, and anyone’s moral standard. Antigone, certainly felt that it was wrong to left dead body unburied, and she did what she had to do – burry him. “I urge no more; nay, wert thou willing still, I would not welcome such a fellowship. Go thine own way; myself will bury him.”(Antigone, 69-72)As things progress, he realized that if only he did not command that, everything could have been fine. But, what happened – happened, and let to awful outcomes. Chances are that people would still do something they believe is the right thing to do, even if it was said not to do so.  Everything he cherished and valued has shattered right in front of his nose, and they happened faster than anyone would predict. The point being- If you do not concern yourself with concerns of commoners, (or anyone actually), you WILL lose everything you love. Cersei never considered anyone has ever suggested to her, not even her two brothers, the result? Both brothers turned away from her, all three kids dead, and she lost her rule over half of the kingdoms in Westeros. Moral of the story- be open-minded, see different approaches to situations, and most importantly, consider suggestions of others. None of the personas mentioned above will ever succeed, their reigns will only continue while people fear them. Cersei is not an exception, her Game of Thrones just might be over on a near future.

Diana Dubitskaya, Team Mercury

#Elsewhere #TeamMercury #GameofThrones #Antigone #CLAS2 #Dictators

Kong Skull Island: Reality Awaiting us?

Towards the beginning of the recently released film, Kong: Skull Island, the expedition crew lead by a division of MONARCH, start dropping bombs on an island recently discovered to “map out” the surface if the island.  In doing so, they cause very large amounts of destruction onto the island, killing animals and ruining the habitat, while also looking greedy in doing so.  The environmental impact is completely ignored.  That is… until King Kong starts attacking them.  When Kong attacks them, this then leads into another scene involving Kong battling the planes, while the captain (Samuel L. Jackson) thinks Kong is in the wrong (second video).

This scene can relate to contemporary social issues today in how we want to control and form nature into our own image, especially in this political age.  In this age, Samuel L Jackson and the others dropping bombs are like Trump and environment destroyers, while King Kong can be seen as the scientist trying to stop global warming and save our planet.  In an earlier scene, which involves one of the scientist talking about there plan, Tom Hiddleston’s character says that the scientist are “dropping bombs”.  The scientist are quick to correct him to say they are “scientific instruments”. The setting, Skull Island, is completely unaffected by humans, yet we destroy and attack it because we feel the need to, even though the people here are doing it for “scientific reasons”.  Even though we have come a long way to see the impacts we have made upon nature, there have recently been greedy people wanting to ignore what the scientist have said about environmental issues and go back to our dark ways.  This can be seen as in with the recent election we had.  Donald Trump is trying to convince many people that climate change is not real.  This has lead to him electing Scott Pruitt, long time climate change denier, to become in charge of the EPA.  This has lead to constant setbacks recently including the loss of US involvement of the Paris Climate Agreement, possibility of new coal mining operations that would destroy natural landscapes, and recent discussions of public lands such as natural parks being opened for mining.  To top it all off, this was supposedly done to help get new jobs, or to cut spending, as Trump puts it.  Supposedly, much like the scientist exploring Skull Island, who are dropping bombs to “map out the island”, certain politicians want to destroy the environment to help with coal miners and their jobs, or other things that sound good on paper to cover up evil deeds.  And much like how Kong attacked the planes for invading his home, we too may face consequences unlike any we have dealt with before if we continue down this path.  Kong can also be a comparison in this in how he is simply trying to stop the humans from destroying his home, but in that, he is attacked simply for doing what he feels is right.  This is similar to all the scientist that are having trouble trying to produce their work today, as they are ridiculed and made fun of for trying to prove a point.  Much like Kong, they know who is in the right and what has to be done, but yet are still attacked and taken on by those above them since they dare to defy what is being done.

Much like the play Medea, the character Medea too wants to deal with doing things she believes is necessary to get revenge on her husband.  One of the things in which she plans on doing is killing her children, as mentioned even very early on in the play.  The play itself starts off with the Nurse mentioning how “How I wish the Argo’s sails have never swept through the dark blue Clashing Rocks, into the land of the Colchians; I wish the pine trees had never fallen in the groves of Pelion,…” (Euripide, Lines 1-4) almost trying to compare how the bad luck in nature coincide with the bad things Medea had done to her family.  It is also shown later on that even though the children have done nothing wrong, Medea still wants to kill them, as she feels it is the best way to get revenge on her husband.  Much like Samuel L Jacksons character in the movie, or Scott Pruitt and politicians like him, what they have in common with Medea is a complete lack of understanding who is wrong, and how others around them are telling them so.  In Skull Island, the crew and Samuel L Jacksons characters lack of acknowledgement of their destruction to the island not only affected the environment, but caused Kong to come out and killed many members of their crew.  Kong was just wanting to defend his territory, yet is deemed the bad guy for getting in the way of their operation.  Scott Pruitt’s denial of Climate Change, and others like him such as Trumps, can cause numerous damages to our nature, which in the end can lead us to losing it, and even our way of life, since we rely on nature.  The scientist and others affected by environmental issues are trying to tell them they are wrong and what must be done.  yet they are looked at as crazy and need to be quite.  They are trying to be shown as the bad guys, even though Trump is in the wrong.  Medea’s lack of acknowledgement of how her life itself will be destroyed by killing her children comes up to late by the end of the play.  By the end of the play, she has no one left to love her.  Her children are dead, her husband is gone, and now her whole world is destroyed.  Everyone tried to stop her before hand, yet they come up to late by the end.

#OldisNew #Drama #CLAS2 #Medea #Scott, Team Cronos

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Temple of the Sea VS. Temple of the Earth

“Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea” (Video)

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In the final scene of Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, the main characters. Ash and May, attempt to save the temple of the sea. The temple/palace of the sea, also known as Samiya, began to deteriorate and flood when a crystal was stolen by a pirate. Without the crystal, the palace becomes in jeopardy of being lost in the sea forever. To save the temple, the characters find and place the crystal back to it’s rightful place.

 

This scene also reflects on the current state of the Earth’s environment. The stealing of the temple’s crystal can be compared to human greed towards the Earth’s resources. People have taken natural resources such as food, water and minerals, without balancing out their actions. Human consumerism may blind our indirect actions of harming the natural state of the world. When issues such as pollution, deforestation and climate change arise, people are forced to realize that there has been little actions towards replenishing the environment. Factors such as politics, finance and cultural differences also hinders the protection of natural resources. This then causes a bigger impediment on finding a way to improve the environment to a stable state for the future. Similar to the scene of Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, people have acknowledged the harmful changes in our surroundings. However, society has yet to step away from personal greed and to take actions for the common good.

 

In comparison to Medea, Medea was a victim to her own selfishness and greed. Throughout the play, her motive to seek vengeance on her ex-husband escalated quickly. As Medea faces the reality of her husband leaving her for the princess of Corinth, the audience is able to see Medea’s anguish grow. Her mental state changes from sorrow, bitterness, to anger. When Medea forms her plan to kill her children, husband and the royal family of Corinth, Medea reflects on herself when she sees her children for the last time. “Go, go on. I am no longer able to look at you. I am overcome by wrongs” (Euripide, line 1076). This portrays how Medea has allowed her emotions to take over her mind and actions. Despite understanding the repercussions of how she will hurt those around her, Medea continues with her plan of revenge. She disregards everyone around her in order to meet her goals, and this form of greed leads to her own downfall. At the end of the play, Medea was left childless, husbandless, and filled with loneliness. She had fulfilled her plan of inflicting pain on others, yet, she cannot escape the pain she had inflicted on herself. Her acts of outrage was a facade that temporarily allowed Medea to forget the sense of betrayal of those around her.

#Drama #CLAS2 #Medea #Vicky, Heremes