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CLA 48 — Euripidean Tragedy: Power, Passion, and Punishment

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Oct 19—Nov 16
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Oct 21
Unit: 1
Tuition: $320
Instructor(s): Marsh McCall
Status: Open
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Oct 19—Nov 16
5 weeks
Drop By
Oct 21
1 Unit
Marsh McCall
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Euripides was the fifth-century BCE tragedian most beloved by the Athenians yet they rebuffed him again and again. He was invited to compete for the annual prize for tragedy on more than twenty occasions but won the prize a mere handful of times. His plays challenge one conventional Athenian belief after another: the innate superiority of Greeks over non-Greeks, the innate superiority of men over women, the justice of the gods, the fairness of divine punishment. In this course, we will read and discuss three unforgettable Euripidean tragedies: Medea, Hippolytus, and the Bacchae. Profound—and confounding—interpretive issues will inundate us at every stage. Does Euripides actually want us to sympathize with a mother who kills her sons? Is there any way to explain why the innocent Hippolytus is so mercilessly wiped out? How can we worship Dionysus, the god of tragedy, after we see his pitiless vengeance against Pentheus? We will try to experience the action and staging of these transforming dramas as closely as possible to the ways in which they were experienced in the Athenian theater of Dionysus in the last third of the fifth century BCE.

This course is the third in a series on Greek tragedy. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

Marsh McCall, Professor of Classics, Emeritus; Founder and Dean of Continuing Studies, Emeritus, Stanford

Marsh McCall has taught at Stanford since 1976. He has received the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education, the annual Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, the Alumni Association’s Richard W. Lyman Award for exceptional volunteer service to Stanford, and the Dean’s Award for Lifetime Achievements in Teaching in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, Euripides, Vol. 1, Alcestis, Medea, Children of Heracles, Hippolytus, 3rd Edition is required (ISBN 978-0-226-30880-7)
(Required) David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, Euripides Vol 5, Bacchae, Iphigenia in Aulis, The Cyclops, Rhesus, 3rd Edition is required. (ISBN 978-0-226-30898-2)
(Required) Paul Roche, Euripides: Ten Plays (ISBN 978-0451527004)