Aristophanes The Birds ("Ornithets") is the only comedy written by Aristophanes whose entire action takes place far from the city of Athens. Consequently, the play makes little mention of the circumstances of the Peloponnesian War, or of contemporary Athenian politics. It won second prize at the Dionysia in 414 BC. It is a play about the … Continue reading Aristophanes’s The Birds: A New City in the Sky
Plato’s famous dialogue, the Symposium, takes place the day after the tragic poet, Agathon, wins his first and only award at the Lenaia in 416 BC, the year before Alcibiades’s failed quest to Sicily. The dramatic setting occurs among a group of Athenians gathered at Agathon’s house in Athens to celebrate his victory. The party is … Continue reading What is Love in the Symposium?
In Aeschylus's The Libation Bearers, we are first introduced to Orestes, the son of the late and betrayed Agamemnon. He appears, hidden, before the grave of his father as his sister Electra is making libations in her father's honor. This second part of the trilogy takes place an unknown number of years after the murder … Continue reading The Oresteia: An Affirmation of the Noble Lie
Scene 1 In Act II, the longest of the five Acts in the play, we are redirected to (presumably) the Forest of Arden where Duke Senior praises the innocence of the noblemen's new idyllic life. He calls it "sweet", "free from peril", and without the "penalty of Adam". He hearkens a golden age, but not … Continue reading As You Like It, Act II
I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang Director: Mervyn Leroy (1932) ★★★★☆ This haunting film, based on the true story of Robert Elliott Burns, is an early thriller produced with the intention of exposing the harsh southern chain gang prisons of the early 20th century. Starring Paul Muni, already famous for his portrayal of Tony … Continue reading I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang