College papers help

Odysseus and aeneus travels to the dark side essay

Wonder Woman is the first foray of D. But is Greek myth simply a favoured and enduring wellspring for heroic sagas full of supermen and monsters or are there deeper forces at play?

To the Greeks, the underworld journey was an ideal vehicle for the hero to display his exceptional qualities, often involving the rescue of a soul trapped there. Alessandro Allori 1580 Odysseus questions the seer Tiresias. Wikimedia Commons Descents into and ascents from the underworld are themes incorporated repeatedly into modern cinema.

Film developed from theatre, which in its earliest form was a way of animating mythical sagas. The katabasis has endured in cinema because it can be applied to most characters, times and settings. Often eschewing a literal journey to the underworld, a cinematic katabasis may follow a quest into a type of hell, whether a physical or psychological space. Guide to the classics: Against the warnings of Hades and Persephone, Orpheus looked back at her - only for his wife to disappear, this time permanently.

  • Odysseus comes across bitter Trojans whom he outmaneuvered in the battle, while Aeneas meets Dido;
  • Traditionalists interpret Greek art as an expression of soaring confidence in the triumph of humans over the old gods;
  • The Aeneid reflects the social thought of that time, that souls are born again after 1,000 years;
  • There are several examples of how a burial is not necessary for the people to make their journey to dark images to emphasize this opposite side odysseus is.

Polanski and screenwriter Robert Towne created a bleak vision of 1938 Los Angeles, parched by drought and corrupted by a shadowy cabal of oligarchs. Private investigator Jake Gittes, investigating the death of city water commissioner Hollis Mulwray, uncovers a web of corruption and murder. In its shocking conclusion, Polanski rooted Chinatown more firmly in its mythological ancestrypivoting the plot towards an incest revelation. Like Oedipusredress comes through putting out eyes.

The Conversation

Having failed to save his former love years before, Jake grieves over her death a second time with Evelyn. Chinatown is broadly accepted as a response to Watergate. In this response, Chinatown demonstrates how the influence of Greek mythological conventions on American filmmakers appears strongest during times of heightened political stress. To track the beast, Clarice must descend into the den of captured cannibal monster Hannibal Lecter for clues to slay the monster at large, Buffalo Bill.

For this underworld quest, Lecter is the pedagogue, not the monster. Why does American cinema reflect Ancient Greek narrative conventions most strongly at times of profound social anxiety? The answer may lie in part in political similarities between Americans and ancient Athenians and the perceived vulnerability of their constitutional foundations. Traditionalists interpret Greek art as an expression of soaring confidence in the triumph of humans over the old gods.

But the Athenians were obsessed by the ephemerality of their achievement and how it rested on foundations that could collapse at any time. Yet Greek art, he argued, was just as focussed on warding off monsters representing political threats. But television responded forcefully, particularly through the great HBO crime dramas - The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood - all of which at various times employed underworld sagas in confronting the scarring and resounding effects of violence.

Like Nixon, Trump accuses his critics of witch hunts aimed at sabotaging the will of the people and uprooting American values. We are yet to see reactions to the President reflected in cinema. Trump was elected ten months ago and has held office for only eight, so films responding to his Presidency are still in production.

And we are already seeing key political battlegrounds - the migration of drug crime across the southern border and the violation of the natural world at other frontiers - framed as underworld quests in film. The middle film, Hell or High Water 2016 is a relatively straightforward backwoods heist saga pitting bank-robbing brothers against a Texas ranger nearing retirement.

Ancient myth and cinema in a time of Trump

The script reflects the financial angst of Trump voters, largely sympathising with their perceived disenfranchisement. But the first film, Sicario 2015 and the most recent, Wind River 2017 are dramatic bookends, using mythology to explore the social anxieties that saw Trump elected.

Wind River and Sicario are violent, electrifying films, which embrace Greek mythic conventions by sending their heroes to the realm of the dead both in pursuit of monsters and in embrace of loved ones. In Sicario, Kate and Alejandro pursue the drug lord, Alarcon, across a Mexican landscape made hellish through darkness and night vision technology.

Odysseus and aeneus travels to the dark side essay

Whereas Kate emerges from the underworld with her moral compass intact, Alejandro maddened by the murders of his wife and daughter now resides there permanently.

You are not a wolf and this is a land of wolves now. Like Orpheus, Cory experiences the loss of his beloved twice, heightening his corrosive need to have her back. But the land of the dead is not always hostile.

Both films are sprinkled with references to mythological deathscapes: Cory, like the hero Heracles, is a hunter of lions; and wolves, traditional guardians of dead souls, embody links between living and dead. Greek mythological conventions will likely again be used to critique what many see as a uniquely lawless US administration. It will pay to watch the output of Joss Whedon, for one, whose The Avengers 2012 depicted an Homeric world where spectacular battle scenes framed an exploration of the transformative effect of violence, the weight of heroic expectations and the toll both take on men and women who deal in warfare.

Few directors working today are as familiar with Greek heroic archetypes as Whedon.

  • He is trying to get sympathy and help from them;
  • Odysseus visits the underworld for more selfish reasons than Aeneas;
  • To the Greeks, the underworld journey was an ideal vehicle for the hero to display his exceptional qualities, often involving the rescue of a soul trapped there;
  • But the land of the dead is not always hostile.

In his signature television production, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Whedon reimagined the doomed Achilles as a teenage girl who at one point returned from a literal journey to the realm of the dead.

We may not yet know what kinds of underworlds will need to be negotiated in years ahead. But American filmmakers are uniquely experienced in passing through landscapes of dread, emerging stronger and more enlightened.