Panem: A Greco-Roman empire wannabe

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In the post-apocalyptic setting of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, citizens of the new nation of Panem are divided into one of twelve factions and the “Capitol”. Each faction specializes in a different field ranging from textiles to fishing, grains to coal mining. The setting of the story allows for the exploration of poverty, power, censorship, and wealth in a budding society. Each year, a boy and girl from each district ages 12-18 must be sent to a Roman gladiator style fight to the death known as the Hunger Games while the rest of Panem watches, allowing the President of the new nation to instill fear in those he leads and show them what he pleases. Victors, as well as those in the richer districts, are seen as icons and are showered with fame, money, and increasing notoriety. In the film, a massive party was thrown in the Capitol in Katniss and Peeta’s honor after having won the 74th hunger games. Similar to the upper-class citizens and aristocrats in ancient Greece, victors and wealthy individuals in Panem had a greater influence on society and often had access to privileges that everyone else didn’t. While those living in Katniss’ home district, District 12, were starving and could barely afford a loaf of bread, people in the Capitol would eat till they were full, purge, and eat again simply because they knew there would always be more food available to them. Additionally, children from districts 1, 2, and 4 are trained for the games since birth being that participants are deemed heroes and idealized, much like athletes were in ancient Greece.

In Euripides’ Medea, Medea states “And I share in this fate myself: because I have skills, I suffer the envy of some, and to others I am a rival; But I am not so very clever. And then you are afraid of me. What harm can you suffer from me?” In the text, she is speaking to King Creon about her banishment from Corinth after she vowed to get her revenge on her former husband Jason. In The Hunger Games, Katniss is seen as a rebel to President Snow after she became a symbol of outspokenness and courage among those in Panem, especially after showing her humanity after Rue’s death. In reference to the imbalance of power in the Capitol, President Snow had sought to extinguish any form of individuality and motivation to deter from social norms. Medea was seen as “Quick-tempered” and too open about her anger, leading to several attempts to banish her from the city, though like Katniss, she prevailed and got her revenge.

Video: https://youtu.be/do1smOv8rf4

 

– Natalie, Team Vesta