Xenophon’s Perfect Country Gentleman in the Oeconomicus

The word "economics" comes down to us from the Greek meaning "household management" and the various contingents of the household. Thus the science of the economy is the science of the household or the estate. The title of Xenophon's seminal but brief dialogue points us to the theme of the text: household management, or more … Continue reading Xenophon’s Perfect Country Gentleman in the Oeconomicus

The Peloponnesian War, Book IV: Armistice and Mounting Losses

Book IV of Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War opens with yet another revolt from allies of the Athenians, this time in the city of Messana. Syracuse encourages the revolt to prevent Athens from a clear path to Sicily. Additionally, Athens is again invaded by the Spartans under King Agis, son of Archidamus. Meanwhile an Athenian … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book IV: Armistice and Mounting Losses

Aristotle, Oedipus, and Greek Tragedy

There has been a longstanding debate, dating back to Aristotle, regarding the purpose or telos of tragedy, and whether or not the key "tragic" element is the result of a unique or particular character flaw caused by the protagonist. In other words, is Oedipus merely a flawed human being who has brought about the destruction of himself, his … Continue reading Aristotle, Oedipus, and Greek Tragedy

Heroism and Tragedy in The Sun Also Rises

“Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton.” In Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, we encounter a series of vignettes that, together, tell the story of a group of expatriate Americans as they roam around postwar Europe. In a certain light, it is a tale of two cities: Paris and Pamplona, two cities of celebration … Continue reading Heroism and Tragedy in The Sun Also Rises

“All The World’s A Stage” Considered

In Act II scene 7 of Shakespeare's As You Like It, we encounter one of the more fatalistic and artful monologues in all of Shakespearean literature, Jaques's famous "All the world's a stage" soliloquy. Drawing on Ovid, Shakespeare uses the character, Jaques, to compare the totality of human life to the charade of a play, … Continue reading “All The World’s A Stage” Considered